Selecting artwork for commercial property requires multiple skill sets. All of which we specialize in at Art + Artisans. This is the second in a four-part series on our art procurement process for commercial real estate. In this article, we’ll focus on the art selection process. The selection process is when we present various rounds of artwork to help you figure out what you like and then finalize the artists and artwork you want to purchase for your commercial property. It’s also when we help you finalize the cost and location for the artwork.
In this Article:
- When to Bring an Art Consultant On Board
- Art Selection: The Head and the Heart
- Art Selection Round One: Getting to Know You
- Subsequent Rounds of Art Selection
- Finalizing Art Selections, Pricing, and Installation Locations
- The Cost Proposal
- Resources to Learn More about How to Select Artwork for Commercial Property
When to Bring an Art Consultant on Board
As we learned in the first part of this series, how well artwork integrates with the vision of your commercial real estate development depends entirely on how early you bring an art consultant on board. In this article, we’ll highlight more examples of why it’s to your benefit to bring us on during the design phase of your project. If an art consultant is involved from the very beginning, when the architectural design direction is developing, we can develop relationships with your team that make the entire art acquisition process smoother. This can make a huge difference to your overall budget and drastically increase the artistic options at your disposal. At the very least, bring an art consultant on board by the design development phase of your project to get the most out of your interior artwork and during the schematic development phase to get the most out of your sculptural or exterior artwork. Any later and your art options will be vastly diminished and feel less integrated into the property.
Art Selection: The Head and the Heart
The art selection process is a lot like matchmaking because it involves the head and the heart. In part one of this series, we explained that you’ll be assigned a project manager. Their job is to understand your vision, likes and dislikes, the uniqueness of your property, your budget, and your timeline so that they can match you with artists and artwork that excite you and meet your project’s needs.
“What I enjoy the most is emerging artists right on the verge of doing something great. They just need a patron,” says A+A Project Manager Inda Hahn.
Art Selection Round One: Getting to Know You
Ideally, we want to agree on your budget before the first round of art is presented so that we don’t show you artists outside your price range. If you can’t give us a budget, during round one we’ll show artists in different price points to help you understand the costs of different types of work. This can help establish your budget as we explain how much different pieces you like might cost. During round one of art selection, anything and everything goes. We present art in many different media and styles. This is done purposely to:
- Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Many people think they don’t know what they like, but when they see art they love, they know. We use this round to gauge your gut reactions to different styles.
- Establish your art language. Words like “abstract” or “traditional” can mean different things to different people. In this round, we learn the words you use to describe the artwork you want.
This is a fun meeting where you get to play art critic and see what speaks to you. What we learn in this meeting points us in the right direction as we move forward in the art selection process.
“Matchmaker is a better job title. It’s not just about attraction, but about availability and budget. It’s like putting a puzzle together.”
— Inda Hahn,
Art + Artisans Project Manager
Subsequent Rounds of Art Selection
During round two, we present you with additional art options consisting of artists and artwork you liked from round one, along with similar artists we find through our database and research. We pick artists that flow together – so you’re not just excited about each individual piece, but you also love how all the pieces work together. We place these on your floor plan to show you each artwork in specified locations on your property. This process is repeated until a complete, curated art package is approved.
A+A project managers collaborate with colleagues across the organization so that our clients receive the combined knowledge, creativity, and expertise of our full curation team .
- Our Artist Database: Anytime we discover a new artist, we put them in our database. It’s searchable by keywords such as type of art, location of artist, and subject matter. We’ve been compiling this database for over 20 years and it’s massive.
- Staff Collaboration: Because all of us at Art + Artisans interact constantly with artists across the country, your project manager will collaborate with colleagues so that you receive the combined knowledge, creativity, and expertise of our full curation team.
- Communication with Artists: We begin communicating with the artists you like in round one to ensure they can work within your budget and timeline. Sometimes the artist you want isn’t available right away. If you’re able to wait, you can work with them. Which is just another reason we always say the earlier you bring us on board the better. If you’re not okay waiting, we move on to other artists in subsequent rounds.
Finalizing Art Selections, Pricing, and Installation Locations
The key to finalizing your art selections, pricing, and installation locations is having someone on your team who can speak to all the professionals at play: artist, developer, executive team, architect, interior designer, GC, and engineer. That person is your A+A project manager who brings a wealth of experience in working with all these professionals.
- Pricing: We know how in-demand an artist is, and we clarify it with you, giving you an idea of the minimum price range they might charge you before we reach out to them. We always ask artists about their pricing when we’re getting to know them, and we have insight into the art market. Anytime we discover a new artist, we put them in our database. It’s searchable by keywords such as type of art, location of artist, and subject matter. We’ve been compiling this database for over 20 years and it’s massive.
- Material Costs: Material costs change over time. For example, developers know that the cost of lumber rose during COVID. That’s the same lumber used to construct frames for artwork. You can expect to see fluctuation in the cost of commissioned and framed artwork depending on materials.
- Timeline: We do a lot of research after round one, communicating with artists you like, finding those who are available and can meet your timeline, helping you navigate through all the options to find the best fit for your project.
- Installation: We have no problem walking onto a construction site and speaking to any of the trades involved in the project. On one recent job, we were brought in early enough to connect an artist working in LED light beams with the electrician on the project. The electrician taught the artist how to hardwire her artwork and make the final pieces appear to float on the wall, taking the artwork to a whole, new level.
On a recent commercial real estate job, we were brought in early enough to connect an artist working in LED light beams with the project’s electrician. He taught the artist how to hardwire her artwork and make the final pieces appear to float on the wall, which took the installation to a whole new level.
The Cost Proposal
Once you’ve decided on each piece of artwork for every specified location on your site, we create a cost proposal for you to review and sign. This is a contract containing every detail of the art package including artwork, framing, installation, and any expenses necessary for the installation and of the artwork. The goal of this document is to provide full transparency about everything that is going to happen to make sure the artwork you selected gets put up at your site when you want it and how you want it.
- Artwork: The cost of the artwork itself and the cost to frame the artwork if required.
- Installation: The cost of installing the artwork on your property and any travel costs associated with the installation of the artwork.
After the cost proposal is signed, we invoice for the deposit on the artwork and get to work on the third part of our four-step art consultancy process: production. The production phase is when we work closely with the artists to create your artwork exactly as you've ordered it. In the next article, we'll go over the production process in detail.
Resources to Learn More about How to Select Artwork for Commercial Property
- Quantifying Creativity: How Any Artist Can Price Their Art for Sale [ArtBusiness] – An article from the blog of art advisor, author, and appraiser Alan Bamberger.
- Why is art so expensive? [Vox] – Article from American news and opinion website Vox, which specializes in explainer journalism, providing additional contextual information not usually found in traditional news sources.
- How come artists sell their art at such a high price? [Quora] – Answer on Quora from Robert Cpok, artist & illustrator, history of art lecturer, art director.
- Art Demystified: What Determines an Artwork’s Value? [artnet] – Artnet.com is an art market website operated by Artnet Worldwide Corporation, which is headquartered in New York City and owned by Artnet AG, a German publicly traded company based in Berlin.