Martha Weidmann is the CEO and Co-Founder of NINE dot ARTS, an award-winning art consulting and curating firm.
Art creates tremendous value in today’s economic landscape and can be an effective means to build connections and elevate the human experience. In fact, according to my company’s 2021 State of the Art Report, 96% of respondents believe art improves the quality of life for those who use the office space.
More than just a pretty picture on the wall, art has the power to fuel growth. When leveraged for early business development, it can help shape and drive positive change across an organization. Here are three things to consider when looking to include art as part of your development plans.
Expressing A Brand Through Intentional Artwork
Businesses depend heavily on their brand awareness and reputation. Art has the unique ability to communicate that story like nothing else can, enhancing your brand vision through a compelling visual narrative. Art can remind employees, customers and the greater community who you are and what you stand for—meanwhile distinguishing your space.
By expressing your brand through intentional artwork, you create a space that is reflective of your organization’s mission and values. Not only will this drive people into your place of business (and keep them there longer), it will strengthen your brand story and help you stand out in reputable and authentic ways.
When selecting art to reflect your brand, make sure to consider a range of mediums, artists and subject matters. This can create a rich and diverse collection that offers something for everyone, yet culminates in a cohesive art experience uniquely curated to amplify your organization’s brand story.
When brought in early in the project’s life cycle, art consultants can work with developers, designers, architects and others to ensure the art collection aligns with the space’s brand and serves as a visual indicator of the company’s brand values.
This can be as literal as a project like Denver Water, where my company curated three large-scale, exterior sculptures showing different depictions of water, or like with Home Advisor, where we helped them fill their office with artwork that plays on various interpretations of home.
But expressing your brand through artwork can also happen more metaphorically. For example, my team worked closely with staff from the Denver arts and cultural organization, Bonfils Stanton Foundation, to curate artwork from a variety of local creatives, thus creating an office space where employees can feel directly connected to the creative community their organization serves.
No matter the case, leveraging artwork to visually depict a brand is never a cookie-cutter experience. If you choose to use an art consultant, make sure they work closely with developers and designers to first understand the brand and then connect it to visual ideas and concepts. This will culminate in an art experience that brings the brand to life and resonates with the intended audience.
Art As A Way To Commit To DEIB
Now more than ever, companies are being asked what they truly stand for and to put genuine actions behind their words. Artwork that is diverse in subject and perspective can communicate your commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB).
Nearly 70% of the respondents to my company’s survey believe art’s main goal is to build social and cultural capital. Yet in their latest projects, only 50% of the professionals we surveyed featured a female artist, 35% featured an artist that identifies as Black or Hispanic and 15% featured an artist that identifies as LGBTQ.
Art can signal an authentic commitment to the importance of the lived experience and create a place where everyone belongs. An investment in art can be a great way to showcase how your company is living up to its DEIB commitment. To do so, the art you incorporate should be inclusive of diverse backgrounds, representative of the local community and support the careers of emerging and underrepresented artists.
Strengthening Your Return On Investment (ROI) With Art
Beyond being visually engaging, intentionally curated artwork made by local creatives can attract goodwill and powerful press for connecting customers, employees and the larger community.
In fact, over 90% of business leaders in my company’s survey said their projects would be less successful without art. An engaging art experience allows businesses—from hotels to multifamily developments—to command higher rates and longer bookings. Employers with artful offices can even improve employee recruitment, retention, satisfaction and productivity.
One of the most common challenges we hear from our partners is being able to successfully differentiate their properties from the rest. This is especially true as construction and development costs increase, putting constraints on the art budget. The best way to overcome such challenges is to consider art early in the project’s development. Doing so will ensure the art experience feels cohesive with architecture, design and operations, rather than an afterthought that leaves little impression on visitors.
When brought in early, art consultants can help maximize artwork budgets and create cost efficiencies by planning for high-impact art moments that will make the strongest impression on those interacting with a space. By starting early and working closely with other project stakeholders, professionals can create spaces for bold, iconic artwork that would be impossible anywhere else.
Next Steps For Building The Business Case For Art
There’s no denying it—art can fuel business growth. But in order to create meaningful, exceptional art experiences, it’s important to begin early in a project’s life cycle for maximum outcome.
Ultimately, projects are more effective when all stakeholders, decision-makers and experts work together. This helps maximize budgets, artwork placement, artist selection and more. By harnessing the collective wisdom of key leaders and the transformative power of art, businesses can create authentic opportunities for expansion and success.