Corporate art acquisitions are still contributing to the cash flow for local galleries, although some businesses may be changing the type of purchases.
I think its really, really up. Were getting more and more connections that way, said Jody Hemphill Smith, owner of Castle Gallery.
Along with catering to corporate clientele, Castle Gallery helped provide pieces to enhance the décor at Indiana Techs new law school, Smith said.
They bought a lot of originals. They went to work and got donors and people who know how much art will help a space Good art for a law school? I applaud them, she said.
Art will really set off a place; I mean, it will finish it. Its like adding the cherry to the top of a cake.
David Opalinsky, who has an architectural design firm in Pittsburgh, curated the collection that includes original paintings, drawings, photography, sketches and significant prints by some world-renowned artists for the law school. He said it includes about 250 pieces that can be viewed by the public and 40 to 50 pieces in private areas, such as the administration suite.
More than two dozen pieces were donated, and the collection was underwritten by a major local employer, Opalinsky said.
Ash Brokerage Corp. last week announced plans to invest nearly $20 million to move its Fort Wayne headquarters into a more than 90,000-square-foot building downtown at Harrison and Berry streets. The new building is expected to be completed by August 2015.
Norma Endersby, brand marketing director for Ash, said shes not sure whether the family-owned insurance brokerage will buy what would be considered corporate art for the new headquarters.
We dont even know how the interior of the building is going to be configured yet, she said. Construction plans, including for interior spaces, are being finalized.
Ash has about 225 local employees and hundreds more in other locations across the country. It plans to add more than 100 jobs over the next few years because of growth.
Endersby said Ash has used many of the awards it has received and memorabilia showcasing the companys history to help create visuals. Some walls in the current building on West Jefferson Boulevard are also adorned with inspirational sayings.
Clearly, the visual appeal of our new headquarters, and the creation of a welcoming and productive environment for our employees and visitors is important to Ash Brokerage, Endersby wrote in a follow-up email.
Local businesswoman Sharon Eisbart said she has only a handful of clients that have put resources into what she calls investment art with a capital I – art that would hold its value or appreciate.
I still have clients who will put part of their resources into investment-quality pieces, but its a smaller percentage of the project, said Eisbart, who owns Sharon Eisbart Corporate Art.
Some clients find savings on local and regional art – although just because its local doesnt guarantee its less expensive – or in buying reproductions or limited-edition pieces, she said.
Businesses often like projects with a personal or historical aspect based on their industry, and sometimes art is created using the expertise of photography and marketing departments.
The presentation is great, but you wouldnt classify it as investment kinds of art, Eisbart said, but I must say, its an investment for them.