Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Picturing Success: City Arts Center in Oklahoma City Starting Service to Help Businesses Find, Display Works

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Picturing Success: City Arts Center in Oklahoma City Starting Service to Help Businesses Find, Display Works

Article excerpt

The concept of corporate art collecting - investing in fine art for a company's walls and waiting areas - creates value for a business and strengthens its brand, proponents say.

City Arts Center is starting an Art Advisory Service to help businesses select and display art for their buildings. Executive Director Mary Ann Prior, who previously served as an art adviser for Bank of America and Pfizer in the United Kingdom, said she'd like to see more Oklahoma companies look at art as a regular part of their operations.

"It has very good benefits for staff and for clients because they come in and they see a very well-thought-out interior and it's got quality works on the walls," Prior said. "You're immediately thinking you're dealing with a quality and refined company. It does create and give off the right image. And, for the staff, a pleasant work environment makes a big difference."

Prior said City Arts Center will launch its Art Advisory Service early next year. One staff member will connect clients with regional artists, and Prior will help those who want to look internationally for artwork. Although the advisory price structure hasn't yet been set, it will be on a commission or fee basis, she said. All income will go back into City Art Center's programming, particularly in providing scholarships for people to take art classes.

Any size company can pursue art collecting, Prior said, and they don't have to spend a lot of money. But professional advice is helpful as people begin the process, she said.

"Most collectors do take advice; they don't always feel they can go out and buy something," she said. "With a bit of advice, you shouldn't make any horrendous financial errors; you shouldn't lose your money."

To help local business leaders start thinking about their own art collecting possibilities, Prior invited Michael Danoff, director of the art program at Neuberger Berman in New York, to speak in Oklahoma City. The lecture was held at SandRidge Energy, whose leadership has added art to its spaces.

Danoff said good corporate art collections go beyond decor for the walls and make the space memorable. …

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