As art consultants for commercial clients, we often work with art selection committees. They’re a great way to include multiple stakeholders and employees in the process of selecting workplace art. But with more people comes more opinions and guiding them to select art is a specialized skill. In this article, we’ll share how we work to get everyone’s ideas reflected in the art selections, and achieve consensus and excitement on the final art package. We’ll also show you some of our past art selection committee projects.
Art consultants that work with committees must operate with some important ground rules in order for the committee to be effective.
- Every art selection committee is assigned a project manager – The project manager is the point person who will walk the committee members through the entire process of acquiring artwork. They are specialized professionals who spend all their time immersed in the art world, making connections that allow the committee to make informed buying decisions. They know which artwork will work on a specified surface, how much to pay for it, and how to best install and display it in the space. They can foresee timing issues that affect the budget or installation date and can keep the selection committee focused on milestones and deadlines.
- There must also be a point person on the client’s end – The point person helps the project manager create a meeting schedule that works for all members of the selection committee. This might be the person who first contacted us for our services or someone that was designated by a leader at the organization.
- Successful, efficient committees happen when members make it to meetings from start to finish, no trickling in or out – Important decisions are made at each meeting. For members to stay in the loop and have their voices heard, attendance is imperative. Committee meetings are scheduled well ahead of time so everyone has plenty of notice. Many committee members get excited about this commitment because art selection is a fun deviation from the normal workday.
Once we’ve coordinated a schedule that works for everyone, we hold the kickoff meeting
At the kick-off meeting, the project manager works to:
- Identify goals for the art – Organizations can have a variety of goals for acquiring artwork. Some common ones are to draw employees back to the office, tell a brand story, or connect to the community.
- Identify criteria for the art – Art criteria can include different things that support the client’s overall vision or aesthetic preferences. Criteria may be using local or diverse artists, art created from sustainable materials, or art that is interactive, textural or dimensional
- Review scaled architectural floorplans and renderings– The project manager uses these to mark locations identified for artwork and to reach consensus with the committee on location priorities.
- Establish the budget– Some clients have already established their budget for art. Others want guidance to arrive at a number that will be impactful and that works with the overall project budget. We provide recommendations based on your criteria, the spaces you have available for artwork, and our prior experience on similar projects.
- Set milestones and deadlines– To ensure that art installation aligns with the overall construction schedule, we develop a milestone timeline to ensure art selection, procurement, fabrication and installation are complete by your deadline.
Once these details have been established, we walk committee members through how we work, that includes our four-step process of art acquisition: discovery, selection, production, and installation.
While our four-step process for art acquisition remains the same, how we get there varies a little when working with a committee of people.
- Discovery – The discovery process includes the kick-off meeting and related research and follow up which establishes project guidelines.
- Selection – The project manager presents a variety of art to the selection committee based on the established criteria and leads a collaborative discussion to establish direction and favorite artists. Using our proprietary process of working with committees, we continue to guide members through the selection process until consensus on the final art package is reached. A cost proposal containing every detail of the art package including artwork, framing, installation, and any expenses necessary for the installation is created for the client to review and sign. The goal of this document is to provide full transparency, so the client knows exactly what they are purchasing, all associated costs, and the timeline for installation.
- Production– During production, commission design details are finalized, art is procured, pieces are printed, fabricated, or created in an artist’s studio, and custom framing is designed. The project manager handles all details of quality control over every piece of art and all custom framing to ensure your pieces arrive in pristine condition.
- Installation– The project manager oversees artwork delivery and installation which includes a variety of details best left to a seasoned professional. These include booking specialized fine art delivery services, registering access to the dock and freight elevator, overseeing the unpacking and placement, inspecting the artwork for any damage, and promptly arranging for the correction of any issues that may arise.
For their new Dallas corporate headquarters, the law firm of Thompson Coe wanted a variety of artistic styles to make a strong first impression, inspire conversation, elevate the environment, and align with their interior design. We led their selection committee to find an art package that includes stunning digital photography, watercolor, oil painting and more.
Austin Energy turned to us to lead the art selection for their new four-story headquarters. We helped them select an art package that’s engaging, inviting, textural, and authentic and unique to Austin.
We helped a committee at Keurig Dr. Pepper select art that highlights their brands and reflects company values. Mixed media compositions celebrate the art of reusing everyday materials by creating a second life for old packaging from KDP’s own products.
Art Goals & Criteria:
- Reflect company values and brands
- Create conversations around the company’s corporate responsibility goals and vision for the future as they give tours to visitors and prospective new employees
- Use sustainable, recycled product material
See more of the Keurig Dr. Pepper project.
Art selection committees are a great way to include employees and stakeholders in the process of selecting art for the workplace. But leading a committee to select art is a specialized skill set. An experienced art consultant can ensure everyone’s opinion is heard and reflected in the final art package. This results in a sense of ownership for committee members that turns them into ambassadors for the art and for your organization. Contact us now to discuss how we can guide your art selection committee to the art you need.