New projects and how the process of selecting art is done

Janelle Baglien, president and founder of Studio Art Direct
Janelle Baglien, president and founder of Studio Art Direct

Things are heating up at Studio Art Direct.  We have several new projects on the horizon that will require exciting art concepts.  Two hotels, one memory care facility, and two medical centers are just now kicking off.  But it will take several months before we begin to select art for these projects.  Why?

The process for creating a permanent art collection for a client is time consuming.  We usually get involved in the early phases when the architecture and interior design is just being created. This is an important step because a successful art collection should be integrated into the design – before the building is complete.

The first step is to create a theme or story – what is the message the art needs to convey?  Is it to provide

Artwork will be selected to enhance this palette.
Artwork will be selected to enhance this palette.

serenity to patients, spark long term memories for seniors, or to transport travelers to a place or feeling?  We create themes by collaborating with the designers and building owners.  Color palettes, finishes, and architectural features are reviewed and owners are interviewed to understand their preferences and vision.  Once a theme is established, we create a storyboard of art concepts with examples.

The next is step is programming art locations on the architectural plans.  Wiring for

300 hand blown glass balls will dangle in clusters from 35' high atrium at Kaiser's new Sunnyside Hospital lobby.
Elevations are created during the schematic phase of design so that art is integrated into the architecture early.

lighting, structural backing, and bracing for heavier art installations need to be installed prior to drywall going up so it is imperative that the art locations are selected and integrated into final construction documents (these are the architectural plans used by the general contractor to build or remodel a building.)

The next step is budgeting.  An excel spread sheet that corresponds with the art programming is created and each location is assigned a budget estimate.  This budget is “massaged” until the owner is satisfied with the bottomline investment.  Some art will be deleted, some art will change from a proposed original to a more affordable reproduction. Rarely is a budget increased…well, actually never!  Ultimately, the end document is approved and this is when we begin art selections.

After all selections are made, all estimates for commissions and sculptures have been negotiated, do we finally move into getting artists started on work.

This process can take several months if not years to complete.

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