3 Ways to Make Your Corporate Art Collection More Accessible to the Public (And Why It’s a Good Practice)

Every corporation has a different motivation for collecting works of fine art. Whether it be to enhance the office space, stimulate their employees, invest in appreciating assets or otherwise, corporate art collections can provide unique opportunities for companies and the public. 

These collections are not only beneficial to corporations and their employees, but also to the art-consuming public. By expanding access to corporate artworks beyond the walls of an office building, a corporation can contribute to society and also reap their own rewards. 

The Office As Museum

The objectives behind a corporate art collection will inform how art objects are displayed. Beyond what to collect and how to budget for art comes how best to exhibit individual works and the collection as a whole. 

There are several factors to consider when deciding how to display a work of art, such as lighting needs, location and mood. What do you want someone to feel when they walk into the lobby of a building? How can corporate wall art signify values and brand? Office artwork should be more than just trimming, it conveys a message to employees, clients and customers.

Some office buildings operate as mini galleries, making their corporate office artwork accessible to the general public, while others select works to display in the most trafficked spaces of a building. Corporations such as LVMH have created separate museums for company collections, while UBS, for example, has had special exhibitions of its collection in places like the Museum of Modern Art. Another way to invite the public to see your corporate art without expending major resources is by opening the office space as a museum on weekends or holidays. Some corporations have created dedicated exhibition spaces within their office buildings that are open year round for interested visitors.  

For access on a global scale, the virtual space offers unparalleled options. Deutsche Bank, renowned for its art collection, has a detailed online catalogue that includes the history of the collection, the influences on the collection, a comprehensive archive of their art objects and information on exhibitions where their art is on display.  

Creating an online, interactive map or catalogue whereby viewers can explore the corporate artwork collection no matter their location is a worthy investment. 

Corporate Art Lending

Companies often loan items from their collections to museums and cultural institutions on a temporary or permanent basis, and even to hospitals and other public institutions as requested.

Some companies operate their art collections with the goal of giving access to cultural assets to the maximum number of people. Bank of America, for example, has an extensive public reach through their Art in Communities program. Since 2009, more than 140 museums across the globe have borrowed art objects through this program. Their main goal is not to grow the size of their collection but to grow its access to corporate artworks

In addition to lending for increased visibility, many corporations use their collections as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility missions. Loaning or donating art is a way to further these practices, which aim to contribute to society and support philanthropic operations. 

Being a patron of the arts communicates a corporation’s core values, which presents a positive image to customers and clients. 

Community Focus 

Corporate art collections can foster community in an office environment and beyond. Some corporations, for example, work with corporate art consultants or commission local artists to collaborate with employees to design and create new art for the office. In some instances, employees can also vote on new art acquisitions and installations at different office sites, giving them a personal investment in the collection. Studies have shown that an office environment can influence productivity and performance. Offices with good design, including well-curated corporate wall art pieces, can increase employee satisfaction.  

For corporations with offices and branches throughout different communities, there are opportunities to foster deeper ties via art collections. Some companies have instituted programs to create standalone exhibitions in neighborhoods where they operate or lend to local arts organizations. 

Many companies also collect from regional artists, dealers or galleries, increasing public investment and, therefore, interest in the wider collection. For example, banks that collect art look to purchase paintings and sculptures from artists in the communities where their branches serve. For example, midwest offices collect from midwest artists, which creates a symbiotic relationship between the corporation and local artists or arts enthusiasts. 

Investing in a community creates goodwill, which is the best interest of any company. Exhibitions, education initiatives and other programming at a local level not only enhances the image of a company, but also builds community.

Why Building a Corporate Art Collection is a Wise Investment

Regardless of the individual motivations for looking to increase public access to a corporate art collection, there are many benefits of instituting this practice. 

As a general rule of thumb, the more a work of art is viewed or exposed, the higher it will be valued on a go-forward basis. Increased recognition of an individual work, subject matter or artist increases its worth within the art market. 

In addition, practicing corporate social responsibility and sharing cultural assets with the public is a way to be philanthropic, engage with your local community and even enhance your brand. Sharing art in this way can be an important element in creating a positive corporate image. A corporation that communicates good values and presents itself as useful to customers and clients should result in public support. Companies that are good corporate citizens create the greatest goodwill by acting in a socially responsible way. 

Companies can also differentiate themselves from competitors through their investment in art. An art collection or related art programming can be powerful tools in attracting clients or marketing to customers. A corporate art collection is often seen as the embodiment of a brand’s identity and can give a company an advantage within their sector. 

Furthermore, loaning corporate office artwork to an institution is a good practice for several reasons. Lending on a long-term or permanent basis not only increases an object’s value because of its visibility, but it can also heighten its provenance. If a work of art is included in a museum exhibition, fine art experts can provide additional scholarship and verify its legitimacy. Loaning also allows a corporation to save on the costs of storage and can even result in a tax break. 

While it’s a generally good practice to maximize your corporate art collection accessibility, there are other implications to consider. Lending and displaying works publicly or opening your office as a museum can increase the risk of damage to a work of art. This can hike insurance premiums and related costs. If you are looking to broaden the reach of your corporate office wall art collection, you may also want to consider the related implications. 

Corporate Art Buying Conclusion

Corporate art collections play an important role within the greater art community. They increase public access to cultural assets on a global and local level, can help launch an artist’s career and inspire their employees. If you are looking to grow your corporate art collection or commission unique works for your office space, consider working with corporate artist David Stanley Hewett and bring your vision to fruition.