Art Talk

The Art of Consultation for Corporate Environments

by Shayna Laing

There can be a very creative symbiosis between art and multinational corporations. Art is a key element in expressing a corporationís image and creating a dynamic working environment for its personnel. It can also represent a profitable investment as well as a powerful publicity agent.

Putting together a good art portfolio, like other forms of investment, is an endeavor for which the services of a specialized consultant are essential. A bona-fide art consultant must have extensive knowledge and experience in all fields of art complemented by a keen business sense.

Filling in slots in collections are all radically different, however they all have one thing in common (even if they are buying art at least partly for decorative purposes). Corporate buyers like to own art that is already intrinsically valuable and art that should appreciate in time.

Nevertheless, not all corporate art purchases are high-end. In fact most respondents collect a wide range of media, distributing small parts of their art budget among limited editions, graphics, photography, original paintings, crafts and sculpture. Budgets are individual and as varied as the companies buying the art.

Art consultants pride themselves on the vast knowledge they have in art. They are able to track down specific requests, sit in at auctions for clients, effect evaluations, and arrange for commissions. They are usually well-known in the art world through their connections with artists and agents, as well as local and international dealers. They are au courant with art publications, and attend as many exhibitions as possible.

These consultants actively add to corporate collections, and or seek out a specific piece of art to fill a perceived gap in the collection. They are responsible for framing, hanging the works, or simply re-arranging them in new surroundings.

Art consultants save a great deal of time for Architects, Interior Designers, and managements, from the blueprint stage to the on -site presentations and finally with the installations.

Although all corporations are radically different, they all have one thing in common: they all want value for their dollar. Generally speaking, corporations invest in art for three main reasons: to provide a source of enjoyment for their employees; to make their premises more attractive; to promote their own personal image.

An Art Consultant is always responsive to the special needs of their clients, and has the ability to tailor his/her services to meet these needs. The Consultant will be able to offer a myriad of solutions, keeping the personalized corporate image first and foremost.

The biggest problem corporations face when it is time to address the issue of artworks for their premises is that they are bombarded with calls from people who may or may not have the capability or experience. Therefore, asking a series of questions, requiring background material, a biography, and references are some of the key elements in finding the right consultant.

As fraud scandals continue to surface on a daily basis, issues such as authenticity, provenance and condition may very well be addressed by an Art Consultant, whose objective and qualified advice would be invaluable to any client.

Shayna Laing is an art consultant in Montreal.