Sometimes it’s hard for people new to the world of comprehensive art management to understand its complexity. How hard can it be to track and catalogue art anyway?
For an outsider, it probably sounds as simple as keeping an excel spreadsheet. But when we are talking about massive amounts of art, the challenges of tracking so many pieces at once can stack up – and fast.
A Game of Scale: Comprehensive Art Management
To illustrate the point, let’s look at the numbers. Anyone can count to 1,000, but sometimes seeing it and then picturing relocating each piece to a new location changes the picture. Factor in the large size of some pieces, the value of fine art and other key factors and more logistical factors enter the scene. For your imagination:
And here are 1,000 pieces of art.
Imagine 5,000 Pieces of Art
These are the kinds of numbers we play around with pretty regularly at Art Force. In fact, it’s not uncommon for requests to manage 2,500-5,000 piece collections to cross our desks.
When you look at this way, another picture begins to emerge. Depending on the size of your collection, the sheer logistical complexity of managing art can quickly become a full-time job. Factor in other concerns like moving to a new facility, protecting from theft, reframing or auctioning the art, and a host of other logistical concerns crop up.
Add a Floorplan
Now, take this thought one step further and picture a facility – any facility really. This very simplified floor plan with art locations gives you a picture of what just a single floor with 12 pieces of art could look like.
To hit our example of 500 pieces of artwork above, it would take another 40 floors just to present art in this density. While no two facilities are ever exactly alike, we find this kind of density is pretty common.
So ask yourself, is there an advantage to having someone else climb those 40 flights of stairs and catalogue your art for you? While your Fitbit might suffer, your back, and even more importantly, your day planner sure won’t.
Technology & Automation
We’ve established that comprehensive art management is a massive task. But that doesn’t mean the task needs to be difficult. At Art Force, our SmartArt program automates virtually every step of the comprehensive art management process that doesn’t involve the irreplaceable human touch.
This diagram is complicated, but so is the process. If you are in interested in comprehensive art management for you or your business, we strongly encourage you to consider its complexities and how we can streamline the process for you.
Let’s break down these steps in a little more detail.
A Radio Frequency Identification tag (RFID) utilizes electromagnetism to track and tag an object. In this case, we’re obviously tagging and tracking art. If your art doesn’t already have RFID tags, Art Force can work with you to get your artwork tagged and catalogued. A few months back, we wrote a long and detailed blog post on RFID tags on ArtForce.org for more granular information than you will find in this post.
In a nutshell, each tag will include an Avery Dennison AD-223 RFID inlay which communicates with SimplyRFID NoxVault software and a NoxVault handheld reader to capture and catalogue important information like the artist’s name, the artwork’s title, and other important information like the size and value of the art. Once this information is associated with a location, all of the pertinent information is consolidated down to one place. This information can easily be merged with existing information catalogues via Microsoft Excel in cases where an inventory management system was already in place.
Art Management Report
Once you have every piece of art catalogued, it’s time to enter them into an Art Management Report, which thanks to SmartArt can be hosted in an online project room with image files and other valuable information for your organization to access and share with involved persons and parties.
With your RFID tags in place and an Art Management Report in your corner, it really becomes a game of monitoring, updating, and tracking your assets as they move from place to place.
Art Redistribution Strategies
It’s not uncommon to have a client who estimated their art at 500 pieces and once the assessment is complete, they actually find that they have more or less. Whether you have an excess of art or some of the art you possess no longer aligns with your brand, there are many art redistribution strategies at your beck and call.
Art Force can set up resale auction, resale employee auctions, online exchange listings, help you donate the art or even responsibly recycle any art you cannot auction, sell or redistribute through other means.
New Brand Aligned Art
From there, SmartArt can help you browse artwork by subscription price, type of art, subjects, artist names or any number of other themes or subjects to find new art that better aligns with your brand.
Mountain into a Molehill
We want things to be as easy and seamless for our clients as possible. We hope this brief preview gives you a better look into our process for comprehensive art management.