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The value of employee artwork in office buildings

At my work we are currently trying to get an "employee" artwork exhibit up and running. It would showcase different types of art or artists every two months.

This isn’t just some vanity project to show off how amazing our designers are. (Although from a corporate, showing-off-to-clients point of view that’s great too.)

For one thing, we aren’t just asking the designers to participate. Everyone is welcome. Researchers, marketers, engineers.

People who make rings as a hobby. People who crochet. People who take amazing photos while on vacation.

Obviously we aren’t the first company to come up with this idea.

Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook , and other large tech companies do as well.

Some Deloitte offices have a rotating installation…

(Photo credit: me)

Some airports are getting in on the action…

​(Photo: Bernadette Garcia at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport art show)

And of course numerous universities have employee and student art installed all over their campuses, and not just the obligatory shows put on by arts professors and students.

There are good arguments for why offices and work spaces need to incorporate more art into their spaces in general, and in particular filling the walls with employee art work.

For one thing, it lets the employees’ "outside" life come in to a space where they spend the majority of their waking hours. This gives them a sense of pride of their off-hours work, as well as putting more investment into their paid work.

It’s a great way to get to know your coworkers better. I had no idea for years that someone made jewelry as a hobby, or that another employee made hand-thrown mugs for all of his teammates one Christmas.

Showcasing employee-made art also helps promote overall wellness. One way is from the office space itself; there is a large body of science that demonstrates that people are more productive, happier, and less stressed when they are surrounded by things that make them happy, varying shapes and colors, and natural objects – preferably nature itself but even pictures of rocks or plants or the ocean. Art pieces can provide all of those things inside the work environment.

Another way it promotes wellness from a therapeutic perspective. Art is very cathartic for people, both as the maker and as the viewer, and while many companies pay lip-service to supporting mental and emotional health for their employees, this is a way to physically demonstrate that you the employer is serious about promoting work-life balance.

Hospitals and clinics will often display employee art for many of the reasons stated above.

(Carilion Clinic Art Show: Employee’s child’s submission "Robot Monster")

So our Art Committee will keep pushing forward to get the opportunity to showcase the amazing artistic capabilities of everyone here in our office. I hope you do too!

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