Advice from Art Consultants: How to Build a Corporate Collection

Artwork Archive | July 2, 2018 (Updated April 12, 2021)

Photo courtesy of Wrapped Fine Art

Whether you’re building a corporate art collection from the ground up or adding new pieces to an established collection, it can be a daunting task to choose a medium or aesthetic to represent your company’s brand and corporate culture.

Corporate art consultants Margaret LeMay, owner of Integrate Art Group in Madison, Wisconsin, and Mira Howard from Wrapped Fine Art in Venice Beach, California, share their thoughts on and recommended first steps for designing a corporate art collection.  

What value can an art collection add to a corporate environment?

Mira Howard: The value of an art collection in a corporate environment lies in its ability to craft a corporate narrative and shape an attractive workspace.

Companies are increasingly expected to do more than simply offer a service or a product: they are expected to communicate a story that engages with customers and employees alike. A cohesive, relatable, and compelling brand has become paramount for company success, especially when it comes to talent acquisition.

As the market for quality talent becomes increasingly competitive, businesses are leveraging artwork to create attractive workplace environments that simultaneously make a lasting impression on clients.

Margaret LeMay: Art can reflect the corporate branding and values of a corporation to clients and staff. The right art can foster the mindset needed in today’s evolving workspace, including collaboration, community, and creativity.

A well-curated collection may appreciate in monetary value over time, but that should not be the sole focus.  Providing employees and visitors a diverse and unique experience that provokes thought and conversation will create lasting value over time.

How should a corporation start an art collection?

Mira Howard: Any corporation looking to start an art collection should begin by determining the walls and areas in greatest need of artwork and develop a general notion of the corporate story/brand to be conveyed via the artwork.

Sizes and media should be informed by the walls. A large wall, for instance, might want either a single large piece or a series of smaller pieces.

Color and style should be informed by the corporate story. A modern video game company, for instance, might seek out art inspired by technology in bright colors, while a conservative financial company might choose subtle abstract pieces to incorporate colors.

Once the key areas have been furnished with art and an aesthetic has been selected, the art collection can grow from there.

One thing to be wary of, however, is creating a collection that matches too much. Once the art collection has begun, it is helpful to think of it like curating a gallery at a museum; the pieces need to have synergy without appearing too "matchy-matchy".

Margaret LeMay: Meeting with an art consultant is the easiest and most effective way for a corporation to begin a collection. There’s a lot to consider both strategically and aesthetically. An experienced art consultant can walk a client through the process to ensure the collection meets desired financial and cultural outcomes.

Photo courtesy of Wrapped Fine Art

What are the benefits of renting a piece or an entire collection for a corporate environment?

Mira Howard: The benefits of renting a piece or an entire collection for a corporate environment are mainly derived from flexibility. For companies that are not sure of the size or style of art they want, renting artwork provides a great option for testing a collection of pieces out.

Art rental is also good for companies that crave variety, and as long as the cost of repeat installation/deinstallation is not a problem, art rental can be an easy way to communicate a fresh, spontaneous company culture.

Margaret LeMay: Art rental may be a consideration for corporations that are tentative about selecting art for a wide variety of stakeholders, such as clients or executive staff, or are unsure about investing the funds for artwork by established artists. For an entire art collection, renting has a lower bar of entry.

Other benefits of an art rental may include annual or bi-annual rotation with new art or short-term art rental for a specific event. An art rental program also alleviates the hassle of removing older art that may become dated over time. It can ease the comfort level for those new to collecting and is, of course, less of a financial commitment initially.  

Ready to start or grow your corporate art collection? 

Artwork Archive offers the tools you need to organize your growing corporate art collection.

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