I am delighted to now share this blog, written just before the Pandemic about how Ashlea Financial Planning brought art into their offices at 123 The Promenade, Cheltenham: what they did and the benefits they found for staff and clients .
Following our move to new town centre premises in August of 2019, Ashlea, a small, family-run Financial Planning firm was keen to find new and innovative ways to integrate into the local community and make meaningful connections. So often the Financial Services industry can appear remote and inaccessible or worse, dry and staid! We wanted to challenge that, so the idea for Art@123 was born.
With our new space now bright and freshly decorated, we turned to the discussion of what to hang on the walls, and with a keen artist in the family of the Director and another team member who was previously an Arts Development officer at the Wilson Art Gallery & Museum, something with a little artistic integrity was favoured over the so often ubiquitous and frankly depressing art posters from Ikea and the like.
As we know art to be an incredibly subjective thing in terms of personal taste, investing in art to permanently display would surely prove to be a divisive decision so another choice was made and, with a professional gallery hanging system installed, 123 The Promenade is now proud to support a vibrant community of exceptional local artists in offering short term exhibition opportunities in our offices.
Art@123 has been a wonderful way of solving our dilemma and is of undeniably mutual benefit to both us as a business and the artists themselves. We get to have a changing rota of high quality art on our walls, while the artists have an opportunity to display some of what is often very large bodies of work currently going unseen.
To help to promote the artist and their work, along with all the usual social media, we offer a private view with wine and cheese to which we invite our clients and business contacts and encourage the artists to invite their friends and associates too. After that the work is actively shown to the many clients who visit our premises each week. In doing this we hope that the profile of the artists is raised locally and even that they might make a sale.
But there is another unseen benefit to us as a business. We are surrounded by an ever-changing display of human creative endeavour which in turn leads to a sense of us wanting to identify our own creativity within our otherwise corporate environment. It also leads to in depth discussions about the works, how they make us feel, how we relate to them. Somehow the art makes us feel better, it enhances us, we are proud of it by proxy! We are most definitely the better for it."
Art @123 was just getting into its stride and starting to show positive impact when the Pandemic hit, and the office was closed. I am delighted that the programme has now been re-instated with a new programme of artists exhibiting. My grateful thanks to Clara Hambling for writing the original Blog and to Niki Marsh for updating me on Ashlea's continued plans to support a changing programme of local artists' work for staff and clients to enjoy.
I would be delighted to hear from any other businesses who have experience of bringing original, local art into the workplace and its positive impact on office wellbeing. If you are a business or have a meeting room or coworking space and are thinking about adding some art, do ring me for a chat and look out for future Art and Business events coming up shortly
Anna Poulton Living from Art 077470323912 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sculpture @123 by Natasha Houseago from the inaugural exhibition.