This year, our Crating and Special Projects Manager, Rob Saccardi spoke on a panel for a Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) Public Art Bootcamp class. The panel, titled Hiring Subcontractors: Engineers, Fabricators, and Artwork Installers, featured expert Saccardi, along with Marianne Wilson, Associate Principal at ZFA Structural Engineers, and Jeff Hudak, Partner at StudioFifty50.
The art experts in this panel spoke on their experience working as subcontractors in the professional art world. Saccardi particularly shared his unique perspective as an art installer. Below are some of his answers to questions that were asked during the panel discussion.
See the full panel here:
What is Your Experience with Outdoor Art Installation, and What are Some Challenges You’ve Faced?
Art Work does a range of art-related services, from packaging and crating to installation and storage for public and private clients.
We’ve had many projects where ingenuity and problem-solving were required to complete the project. During one particular project, there was a miscommunication between the mounting for the electrical and the plates. We had to make modifications on-site. A theme of public art installation is that, for the most part, installations tend to go smoothly, but one or two might go askew, and the installation requires innovation on the spot.
The Ribbon of Light installation was tricky because it required installing two pieces of glass together that do not stand on their own. We worked with an engineer to determine how “piece A” would stay in place while “piece B” was installed. Another challenge we faced with this installation was that some of the glass pieces were damaged in the transport from Germany. We worked with engineers to have some of the pieces repaired or swapped out before we were able to complete the installation.
In a different project, our team was tasked with installing a thunderbird outside at Evergreen College in Olympia. We faced access challenges caused by a bridge that needed to be crossed to reach the installation location. We were able to successfully install the piece using precise movements and close attention to detail.
As an Artist, When is the Ideal Time to Engage with an Art Work Installer?
We usually get asked to do a cost estimate relatively early in the project, or at least once the engineering is done and the artist is interested in getting a sense of how the piece will finally, physically be installed. However, we are happy to be involved in the process even earlier than that. Getting involved early leads to interesting and good conversations, including discussions about how the piece will be put into place or whether the location is difficult to access.
On the other hand, the more information we have, the more accurate an estimate we can give artists. If you do not yet have an understanding of the scope of your project, your installer may likely give you an inaccurate estimate. This can present a challenge for art professionals.
What Information is Crucial for Installers to Know About Your Art Piece?
Some of the most crucial pieces of information installers need to know are the size and weight of the piece. Installers additionally need to know where the piece will be installed, and if there are budgetary or time constraints.
What Should Artists Expect in a Contract Agreement with an Installer?
Many artists who are entering a contract with an installer for the first time are often surprised to hear about potential delays. Delays happen often – everything has to be aligned for an installation to be complete. Components of a successful installation include the hardscaping being complete and the conditions on site being ready to go.
Often, if your installation is delayed for too long, the conditions of the contract may not apply when the piece is ready for installation. With extra storage fees on top of these delays, artists should have a budget that is prepared for the unexpected.
How Do I Choose the Best Art Installation Expert for My Project?
When considering whether to enter a contract with an art installer, seek references and figure out whether they have done similar projects to the one you are wanting to have installed. Every project is unique, but an installer that has done similar work will be familiar with the vocabulary surrounding the project. The best installer will be one with a broad range of experience who can foresee any potential issues.
Specialized Knowledge From Our Experts
For nearly 30 years, Art Work Fine Art Services has served as the trusted logistics partner to some of America’s most highly-regarded museums, galleries, collectors, and artists. We specialize in expert and custom solutions for fine art handling, domestic and international shipping, warehousing, and preservation of artwork.
Our team is made up of passionate experts in many mediums, including design, painting, printmaking, carpentry, photography, and sculpture. Art Work FAS offers services in Portland and Seattle, in addition to California’s Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York City, and across the Rocky Mountains.
To request an estimate or find out more about our fine art installation services, contact us or complete the form below.