Home Is Where the Art Is
Having your artwork handled or installed in your home can be uncomfortable or even nerve-wracking if you’re not used to having strangers in your private space. Mike Schonebaum, our Crew Chief for offsite projects, and Shannon Stobbe, our Director of Operations, explained how our art handlers are trained when they’re installing or deinstalling artwork in our clients’ private homes.
Prior to her role as Director of Operations, Shannon was the Director of Client Services, so she’s very familiar with both sides of an installation job. “The priority is always making the client feel comfortable,” she explained. “Some clients prefer being at home during an installation, some would rather just have photographs sent to them during the process, and some prefer to be totally hands-off. We try to give our clients as much peace of mind as possible.”
So how do you train someone to create that environment?
“We’re trying to build relationships with our clients that are discreet and effortless for them. I use the analogy of a Wimbledon ball boy,” Mike said. “We’re coming in and getting the job done without leaving any traces of our presence and disturbing the atmosphere as little as possible. The art handlers are trained to know the difference between working in someone’s personal space and a professional warehouse.”
“All of our art handlers have experience working with private clients in some way,” Shannon said. “They’ve worked at galleries, other art logistics companies, and museums. Our team understands how to ‘read the room’ and we emphasize the importance of really honing that skill when they’re in someone’s home.”
Mike jumped in, adding, “We prepare them as much as possible. As part of our training program we include workshops with run-throughs for different kinds of installations/scenarios. Every job has a specific team, all of whom get briefed on the general scope of the job, the equipment needed, and the client’s preferences in terms of whether or not they’ll be at home/represented on-site, etc. Once we learn a client’s preferred working style, we’ll do our best to adhere to it on all future jobs.”
Ultimately, every client and every installation is unique and is treated as such. “There’s no cut-and-dry approach for these jobs,” Mike summarized. “We keep a high standard and tailor to the client and the artwork, like everything we do here.”