Curator Conversations: Grant Adams

As NINE dot ARTS’ fourth employee, Grant Adams has seen, heard, and curated it all. Since joining NINE dot ARTS as an arts administrator in 2011, he’s evolved into a senior member of our curating team, overseeing projects for healthcare, multi-family residential and hospitality clients.

We sat down with Grant on the verge of his ninth anniversary with NINE dot ARTS (you get the significance; he gets a three-week sabbatical!) to discuss the importance of crafting a powerful art vision, the business of curating a memorable art experience and what his work means to both the business and creative communities.

Q: How would you describe the business of art consulting and curating?

A: Working with a firm like ours opens up a new set of possibilities for clients who are building or refreshing their art program. When they work with us, they get a true partner. We add value by crafting a vision that aligns with their brand’s goals by curating and negotiating unique and relevant artworks, supporting the installation process, and providing marketing support to help them get the most from their investment with us.

Q: Why is setting a vision so important to the NINE dot ARTS process?
No two projects are alike, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. That’s why it’s important to kick off each project with a vision session.

During a vision session, we meet with clients and define a roadmap for success by assessing their brand goals, their space and their artistic preferences. For many clients, it’s a fun exercise because it gives them an opportunity to revisit their goals and the visual image they want to project with their space. It’s a creative brainstorm that is unlike any other meetings they have for their project.

Q: Once you’ve defined a vision, what’s next?
A: This is when things get very busy! Once we’ve agreed on a vision, we spend the next several weeks searching our own artist database, visiting galleries, art fairs, museums, and online artist resources finding inspiration and negotiating pricing to assemble a collection that brings the client’s vision to life.

During that time, we also tour the space where the artwork will be installed. This “site walk” step is important so that we understand the client’s space and its nuances to create a distinct art experience.

Q: Why is it so important to have a curated vision for art?
A: Art creates a sense of place. If you’re a business owner, art can instill a great sense of pride among your employees and encourage an environment where they can be productive, creative and happy.

The Dairy Block is a perfect example of a public space that uses art to tell its story. It’s an entire art collection in one square block. You can see upwards of 400 pieces of art, from sculptures and hanging tapestries to outdoor murals and interactive experiences. The sense of identity and place that art helped create at the Dairy Block lets you know you’re somewhere special. We talk to people all the time who say “You did the art at the Dairy Block? It’s amazing!” People remember a great art experience.

Q: What type of impact do you think NINE dot ARTS has had on the business community?
A: We think of ourselves as the business world’s connection to the art world. It’s not always easy to have conversations about art, so we make the process as easy and as comfortable as possible. This means working with our clients to connect the dots (get it?) between their business goals and the goals of their art program, in addition to delivering consistent value from the site walk to the framing, shipping, and installation.

Q: What about the creative community?
A: I’ve met hundreds of artists over the years. It’s a pleasure working and collaborating with creatives and makers, and it’s even nicer when you get a chance to sell a piece of their artwork. It not only opens up their eyes to new opportunities, it helps them further develop their portfolio and business skills.

Q: How has NINE dot ARTS helped change the way businesses and communities think about art?
A: NINE dot ARTS has been able to push the conversation forward when it comes to what’s possible from an arts perspective. We’re often dealing with bare, white walls at the beginning of a project, so it’s exciting to see our clients have open minds and express interest in unique pieces that add character and create a sense of place.

We’re also fortunate to work with clients who support the creative community, which helps bring things full circle and works to complete our mission.