Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Your Work as Corporate Art

So, over in the Flickr forum, (which I must admit, I visit FAR FAR to infrequently), and interesting discussion was started by a photographer who wanted to know how to price his work - as art - for a hospital, or if he should just give it "on loan".

I proposed to the inquirier -

"If you're getting something out of it -- say a placard next to each image that is yours citing it's title, your name as the artist, like this:

Title: Moon over Mountains
Artist: John Smith, (www.JohnSmith.com)
Title: Moon over Mountains
Artist: John Smith
The artist may be reached at www.JohnSmith.com
or, perhaps, it's art that is for sale:
Title: Moon over Mountains
Artist: John Smith, (www.JohnSmith.com)
Available for sale. Asking: $430 framed.
These placards would give you marketing outreach. If, however, the hospital is just looking to fill it's empty walls with your work, that's why they have a corporate art budget. (And if they don't, they should, and you should take it upon yourself to assist them in establishing a reasonable one.)

A calculator over at Art4Business suggests "There is a simple rule of thumb for art acquisition projects. Most companies spend between $.75 and $1.75 per square foot of space." And they go on to say that the "number of pieces is estimated at 60 per 100,000 sqare foot area." What exactly does this mean?

First, let me get a little technical. There are three types of office space. Class A, Class B, and Class C. From a commercial real glossary comes "Class A... is an extremely desirable {property with} significant architectural features, the highest quality/expensive finish and trim, abundant amenities, first rate maintenance and management; usually occupied by prestigious tenants with above average rental rates and in an excellent location with exceptional accessibility...A building meeting this criteria is often considered to be a landmark, either historical, architectural or both. It may have been built within the last 5-10 years, but if it is older, it has been renovated to maintain its status and provide it many amenities."

Class B "offers more utilitarian space without special attractions. It will typically have ordinary architectural design and structural features, with average interior finish, systems, and floor plans, adequate systems and overall condition. It will typically not have the abundant amenities and location that a class A building will have...The maintenance, management and tenants are average to good, although, Class B buildings are less appealing to tenants and may be deficient in a number of respects including floor plans, condition and facilities. They therefore attract a wide range of users with average rents. They lack prestige and must depend chiefly on lower price to attract tenants and investors."

Class C "is a no-frills, older building that offers basic space. The property has below-average maintenance and management, a mixed or low tenant prestige, and inferior elevators and mechanical/electrical systems. As with Class B buildings, they lack prestige and must depend chiefly on lower price to attract tenants."

With these details in mind, consider that an average building's square footage for one floor in Chicago is 23,000 square feet. A brand new building near the US Capitol has a floorspace of 50,000 square feet per floor.

Most places that will want to use your photography as art will be Class A, some might be Class B, but not many.

When you choose a space that is 10,000-50,000 square feet, it proposes:
"These budget estimates are for ART SERVICES ONLY. The estimate does not include any charges for artwork, framing or shipping."
And then they go on to say:
"Estimated Number of Pieces: 30
Estimated Square Footage: 10,000 to 50,000
NOTE: This estimated expense does not include expenses for creating an art inventory for purchases of 30 or fewer pieces. For purchases of more than 30 pieces, the cost of creating an art inventory is included; however, no in-house training time has been included.

Project Type: Acquisition

Estimated Budget Required: $7,100.00 - $7,800.00
Tele-Con Presentation, On-site Art Review, Coordinate Shipping, Research/Curation, Presentation Preparation, Blueprint plotting, On-site Art Placement, Installation, Installation Coordination, Inventory, Photography/Download, Program sheets, Generating bar codes, Applying bar codes, SKU plotting, Create corporate mission statement, Determine Art Locations & Qualify Art, Site Walk, Administration/Accounting
Meaning, this is what this service will charge JUST for them to research, choose/recommend, and otherwise facilitate the art.

A search of their Art catalog for photographs, using the term "abstract", yields one image, at 24" x 30", for a price of $625, unframed. Searching without any restrictions other than checking the "photography" box yields almost 200 images, of varying sizes and prices, all unframed, none in limited editions.

So, if you've got a really compelling marketing reason to make 30 images available, "on loan", to a hospital, then perhaps it's worthwhile. However, it may be worth considering that at an average price of about $500 per 16x20, that's $15,000 the hospital should have paid for your unframed prints, and another $4,500 to frame them at $150 for a commercial grade framing job, anti-glare glass, matte, and so on.
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


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