Commission Tips: What Art Consultants Look For in a Commission Artist

Breaking Through by Michael Ireland
Breaking Through by Michael Ireland, transparent watercolor on Masonite. Commissioned by Corporate Artworks for Fountaindale Public Library, Bolingbrook, IL.

It takes more than a great eye to choose an artist for an important commission. Art consultants also have to consider everything from the client’s aesthetic and audience to safety issues, long-term maintenance, budgets, and deadlines. We asked Marilyn Morgan and Denise Rippinger about the criteria that drive their selections.

Sister Marilyn Morgan is a liturgical design consultant who has worked closely with many Catholic parishes. Morgan’s role often includes facilitating meetings for the renovation or building committee and encouraging them, in her words, “to examine who they are as a worshipping body and make the changes that will better serve their needs.” This lays the groundwork for selections that truly express the parish’s beliefs and values. In choosing artists to present, quality, creativity, attention to detail, and “something that draws you in” are foremost on Morgan’s list.

Denise Rippinger founded Corporate Artworks in 1988 and its sister company, Health Environment Art Services, in 2008. Rippinger and her staff take a broad view of art’s role in the healing process, from comfort and distraction to inspiration and delight. In working with healthcare clients, Rippinger writes, “our needs can be very specific due to the specialized needs of art in the healing environment. Along with preferring to work with artists that understand the business side of their craft, we actively look for individuals that understand our needs are client-driven and based on budget, schedule, and deadline.”