Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Helping Firms to Understand the Value of Artwork; Discovering She Was Adept at Providing a Bridge between the Art and Corporate Worlds Opened Up a Host of Business Opportunities for Carol Metcalfe, as She Tells Karen Dent

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Helping Firms to Understand the Value of Artwork; Discovering She Was Adept at Providing a Bridge between the Art and Corporate Worlds Opened Up a Host of Business Opportunities for Carol Metcalfe, as She Tells Karen Dent

Article excerpt

COMMUNICATING the tangible benefits that art can have on a business's bottom line might seem a difficult concept to grasp but it's all in a day's work for Carol Metcalfe.

A fine art graduate with a head for business - and the ability to juggle a number of different enterprises - she is the director and co-founder of Musa Fine Arts. The business represents more than 100 artists in the region and commissions, sells and hires artwork to companies and individuals.

"One of the hardest things is to get businesses to understand the value of artwork to themselves," she says.

"It can be something the business buys or they can commission something. Usually they start by hiring, and changing over about four times a year. That makes them seem bigger than they are, especially if they have the same people coming in all the time.

"Art in the boardroom is a talking point - it can change the atmosphere of the place. Businesses tend to start very conservative with their art, very small and then get more controversial as they go on."

Musa, a not-for-profit company, counts Quorum, which is constructing buildings at the Balliol Business Park in North Tyneside, among its clients. Each time a new building its completed, Quorum has bought artwork to display.

Carol said: "The value for them is if they put a pounds 40,000 piece of art outside a building they can then charge more rent per square foot because it raises the value of the building."

Now approaching its fourth anniversary, Musa is a multi-award winning organisation that has gathered a number of accolades. During its first year of trading its awards included the best cultural and creative business in the regional women entrepreneur of the year awards, and it won the pounds 10,000 Blueprint North East Universities Business Plan award in 2004.

The concept came from Carol's efforts to raise sponsorship to stage an exhibition of her work towards the end of her Master's degree in fine art. She went out and talked to businesses and not only managed to raise pounds 22,000 in sponsorship, the contacts she made meant she was able to sell all of her artwork on show at the exhibition. …

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