Course Syllabus

Managing the Corporate Art Program (Working Title)

Description of the Pilot Project

To create a course of study for the management, and  care of the corporate art collection.

The goal is to focus on what is unique about exhibiting art in a workplace environment, selecting it, organizing  it and using it to enhance the business context while protecting the art.

Part of the study will consider some of the successful programs through in-depth case studies.  It will include interviews with key curators in the field, how they have dealt with problems, how they have worked within their own business environments, what special issues they have encountered and solved. In general, the course will outline and provide solutions to the challenges corporate collections face worldwide. There will be numerous case studies of collections that have created unique or unusual art programs

This will NOT be a digital ebook, it will be a true course of study with a series of lessons during a period of 10  weeks,   Included will be a large series of reference materials and resources.

By its very nature, the following document is for a pilot project and is not complete. It only covers the main ideas and subjects that are envisioned.

Who is teaching the course?   Shirley Reiff Howarth.   See brief CV here

Managing the Corporate Art Program

You can see an infograph for the course syllabus at the following link:

Module # 1        What makes a corporate art collection unique

The benefits and advantages of an art collection in a business environment.    How art used in the business environment can create a window into the company.    Why an art collection is good for business
Emphasis on what makes a corporate art collection unique in the way it is used; and differences from museum and other types of collections

Reading resources, bibliography

Mission statements;    interviews with corporate curators that have worked both in museum world and the corporate art world.

Module # 2      Legal Structures; eg Who Owns the Art

This is one of the most important sections, because it explores how a corporate art collection differs radically from other types of art collections. The nature of art programs developed for the workplace is their inherent vulnerability to changes in administration or  management personnel, downturns in the economy, the changing nature of business goals, mergers, unexpected business challenges, etc.
Legal structures for the collection: foundations, trust, non-profit structures, partnerships, sole proprietorship
protecting the collection from dispersal, and ways to ensure the programs make it invaluable to the company.  Donations, long-term loans, etc.

Reading resources, bibliography

case studies in collections that have been dispersed, or protected for future , eg Seagrams, Fleming, Drambuie, Sara Lee, etc.

Module # 3      Other legal issues, tax issues

these can vary from country to country
are there tax or financial advantages for a company to have a corporate art collection ?
Copyright issues and artists
Insuring the collection

Resources – Readings, bibliography

documents from AXA Art on insuring
case studies of problems

Module # 4      Selecting and acquiring art;  differences in purchasing and selecting for a  workplace environment

Part I Selection of the art

consideration of subject matter, suitability for workplace environment, fragility
differences in acquiring patterns around the world –  Europe tends to acquire more challenging art than North America, etc.
considering the impact on clients, visitors, employees


collections policies
case studies of ways of organizing the collections – AkzoNobel Collection and its thematic groups, etc.
case study – Hanmi Pharmaceutical – preserving Korean photography

Part II Sources

–Auctions – cautions, can vary in different countries
–Galleries – cautions on buying from galleries
–Artists – buying directly from the artist or creator
–commissioning – usually advisable to involve local arts councils, there can be many pitfalls, has to be carefully structured. Legal advice – should incorporate future care of the sculpture if exterior, copyright issues to consider
–Art Fairs and art competitions
–Art Advisors – by definition do not carry inventory
–Museum Advisory Services or Bank Advisory Services


examples of commissioning agreements
examples copyright release forms for artists
comparison of auction houses
case study – European Patent Office commissioning

Module # 5 caring for the art collection (as it pertains directly to a workplace environment )

storage – many corporate collections strive to display most of their art, either on display in the workplace or on loan to exhibitons.
One of the challenges in placement and storage is whether to offer employees access to works that will be displayed in their office spaces. Companies have created many methods of coordinating this without losing track of the locations, or conditions under which they are exhibited.
employee access. — ways to organize the selection – advantages and disadvantages;  let employees select the art themselves;  selection is mandated from central source, eg curator
keeping an inventory
storage solutions
difficult to maintain museum environmental conditions, but things  hat can be done to minimize the wear and tear eg away from direct  sunlight or heating elements, lines of traffic, etc.
framing – uv filtering, etc.
hanging and displaying art in a working environment
visitors – several decisions to be made
accessible to walk in public, by appointment only, for special viewings days or dates, or times; placement in-house galleries (to be discussed in programs section along with tours)


examples of inventory / catalogue forms and databases; information  o be retained about each work of art
tracking movement of works of art
AXA art publications on art insurance
information on framing and hanging devices
interviews with collections that have solved problems – very large or very fragile collections

Module # 6      Using the collection internally

education programs for the staff
communication through intranet or other technologies
labeling solutions
art clubs, staff tours, workshops
in-house brochures or “catalogues”
loaning art works from the collection
creating exhibitions in special public spaces or creating a gallery on corporate campus
sponsoring corporate museums – usually through foundations


studies on how different companies deal with visitors to the collection– tours,
special viewing, security issues this can be an activity – how do the companies deal
with visitors
case study – Borusan Collection in Istanbul – work and office spaces during week and a museum during weekend
case study – Telkom Art Collection in South Africa commissioned Phumani Paper to present paper-making workshops for employees and their families

Module # 7    Using the collection externally

organizing exhibitions to travel
community programs
sponsorship or co-productions with museums or other organizations
creating art centers


Caixa and cultural centers
History of Polaroid collection
different community programs around the world – difference  between Europe and North America
case studies – Banamex, project to preserve Mexican folk art ; Absolut art projects helping artists ; Nationale Suisse conservation project ;  case study of AkzoNobel Foundation Essential Art Space that opened in January 2016; BankAmerican exhibition program case study – Bank of America conservation project ; case study

Module # 8    Considering the future.  Summary and bringing everything together

Reflections on the future and how the nature and responsibilities of corporate collections are evolving.
Creating and maintaining innovative practices in a constantly changing environment.
growth of different types of business collections – eg in law firms, hotels, airports, hospitals, transit networks


case studies