The World’s Best Art Consultancy

The World’s Best Art Consultancy
art-exchange.com unveils Release III of its art tool for designers

The Future Art Consultancy
Locating and placing artwork in a design project is arguably the most difficult part of the project. While some designers take on this task themselves, many enlist the assistance of an art consultant. One limitation of this approach is the consultant’s limited universe of artists. Most art consultants end up with a few “go-to” favorites.

Imagine an art consultancy able to directly access 10,000 artists, with technology capabilities aggregating art choices in a portfolio for emailing or high-resolution printing for presentations. Add the ability to correspond with clients via e-postcard including selected images. And finish with the ability to access framing options online thus enabling the designer to actually show the customer how the pieces will look framed.

Does It Work?
Can a website help you find art? Art-Exchange (www.art-exchange.com) is not a new website, not a new service, not a new company. It does, however, take a new approach to providing art to designers. And it has a new site design that Art-Exchange claims will make the service even more powerful and easier to use.
I spoke with Richard Gipe, President and CEO of Art-Exchange, to find out why he thinks his company’s service is so special. I asked him, “If you had to communicate Art-Exchange’s value to designers in a single sentence, what would you say?”
Here’s what he said: “If you want to access as much art as we have on Art-Exchange, you would have to go to 20,000 galleries, and you would have to deal with so many different sellers that the logistics would be overwhelming.” That sounds pretty good. But does the site work?

About Art-Exchange
Art-Exchange is a business service provider that specializes in solutions for the design trade. They can offer solutions to designers as an art consultancy, or they can provide solutions to art consultants to help them be more effective and efficient.
For the past five years Art-Exchange has been actively contacting artists to list their works on the exchange. Today there are approximately 100,000 different works of art created by over 10,000 different artists. Imagine searching 100,000 records to locate the perfect art solution. Nearly 60% of all the works are originals, and the remaining 40% is a variety of editions. All of these works are organized in a database, and a search engine locates works using any or all of the following criteria:

• Artist’s name
• Title
• Subject matter
• Style
• Medium
• Size
• Colors
• Price
• Orientation

Suppose you need oversized original works and price is an issue. Maybe you want only works with lighthouses. Or perhaps you need large public works. That’s how specific the search engine can be. And with the new design, if you enter several criteria and the search engine can’t find a work that matches all your criteria exactly, it will refer you to the works that match your criteria most closely, so that you don’t have to start over. As one of the new site’s designers said, “We don’t ever want to show nobody anything.”
Normally, designers hire an art consultant or visit multiple galleries or view print books to find the perfect art solution. That’s the old way of finding art. Now designers can look in one place and view tens of thousands of originals alone. This is the new way of finding art. Art-Exchange let’s designers search for all the art they need in one place. That alone has the potential to save time, but the website has some other very powerful features that give designers even more flexibility and power.

Powerful Features
One very important new feature is the Designer Portal. Art-Exchange has four different portals that members can use to enter the site. There’s one for retail clients, one for community partners, and another for artists and other sellers. But the Designer Portal is available only to designers. Once you enter the portal, you can search for the art you want, view images of the art, and immediately see designers’ wholesale pricing.
Here’s another great new feature: Portfolios. How do you keep track of the works that fit your client’s needs? You keep a portfolio. Designers can set up portfolios for individual clients, different locations, or just for future reference. It’s easy to save works to custom-made portfolios. And it’s easy to show the portfolio to clients—from anywhere in the world.
Another terrific feature is the Exhibitions section. Exhibitions include the works of around 200 artists and are compiled topically. Prior exhibitions, which are still accessible, include Realism, Landscape, Watercolor, and Impressionism. In order to have fresh ideas readily available for clients, designers need to be reviewing art all the time, and these exhibitions can help. It takes only fifteen minutes to view an entire exhibition.
Another feature that can help designers and clients work together—especially when clients have trouble describing their interests—is the Postcard feature. Clients can go to the website to browse for themselves. They can view an exhibition, browse by artist, or do a search. When they find something they like, they can send images to their designer using electronic postcards.
Soon, Art-Exchange will even offer the ability to create Custom Frames online so that clients can view the artwork in different frames and choose the one they like best.

Full-Service Art Consultancy
Art-Exchange goes far beyond just the website, however. They also provide full-service art consultancy. They have a full staff of qualified art consultants who can do as much or as little as a designer wants them to. Anything a typical art consultancy does, Art-Exchange will do. If a designer works with an art consultant already and wants to maintain that relationship, Art-Exchange will even work with his or her current art consultant.

How to Access the Features and Benefits of Art-Exchange
Go to www.art-exchange.com and visit the Designer Portal. Log in as a designer and learn about how the service works. You can easily search for art, access their full-service art consultancy, or guide your favorite art consultant to Art-Exchange. A subscription is free. Art-Exchange is paid by the sellers on completed transactions; so they only get paid if they’re helping designers find the right art, for the right job, at the right price.
When asked what he would most want to communicate to designers about the company and the service it provides, Gipe said, “I want the members of ASID who place art to try the art consultancy service at Art-Exchange, and if they’ll give us 10% of their trust, we’ll earn the other 90%.” If you’re a designer or an art consultant, it’s worth trying. Does it work? Is it really whole new way of finding art? Yeah, that’s what it is. And for designers, the world of art will never be the same.

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