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AIM 2021 Session Recap: Community Art As An Amenity & Differentiator

High-end properties have long used public art to differentiate themselves in their respective markets. But with some cities requiring public art in new developments, owners now have something to generate free press and traffic by utilizing art exhibitions.

During the 2021 AIM session Community Art As An Amenity and Differentiator, panelists discussed the intricacy of sourcing and managing art, and the ancillary income opportunities that art startups are creating for property owners and operators.

What makes art an amenity? Kari Warren, chief operating officer at Kairoi, provided her insight as to why art is important and what makes it an amenity.

“For us and how we look at art and why it’s important, there are four big categories,” she said.

Her list: It’s a differentiator in the market, it drives traffic on social media, developers use it to build a sense of community and it’s a city requirement for project approvals in many cases.

At one of its communities in Austin, Kairoi commissioned a local artist whose piece included musicians and actors local to the area and the impacts were overwhelmingly positive.

“It absolutely helped our results,” Warren said. “We opened in April 2021 and we’re 90% leased as of September. And we now have a ton of followers on our social channels.”

Panelists imparted ways to connect with artists and the intricacies involved with the process.

Susan Vickery, principal at Caryatid Consulting, noted three steps involved when working with an artist: get a quote, installation considerations and ‘designing from infinity.’

“Most artists charge per square foot and that may or may not include travel and supplies, but for the most part the exact wall dimension is key to your pricing strategy,” she said.

Installation considerations include the weather, type of medium used, construction impediments and access to the building.

“You want to make sure the artists can get into your building anytime they want to,” Vickery said. “After-hours installations are exceedingly common.”

Lastly, as Vickery labeled it, “designing from infinity,” you want to create a custom design based on the interior design plan, the neighborhood concepts, social vibes and style preference.

“All of these things will help expedite the design process when speaking with an artist about what you want,” Vickery said. “Once you have that discussion and know what you want, you can come up with some really amazing imagery.”

According to panelists, making a connection between the artwork, the community and surrounding neighborhood is of the utmost importance.

“We want a building to be connected to the local community,” said Manuela Seve, co-founder and chief executive officer of Alpha’a. “It all starts with the design aesthetic. For properties it’s so important to connect with the community, so that’s always the epicenter of our curatorial process.”

Laurel Zacher, vice president of marketing and talent development at Security Properties, echoed that sentiment.

“We want our art to represent the interconnectedness between people, because after all that’s what an apartment community is, a community that’s supposed to help people connect with each other,” Zacher said.

Zacher highlighted that her communities use artwork as a way not only to market, but also to make a connection with prospective residents.

“One way to help prospects visualize the art in a community was creating a custom art page on our website,” she said. “The page has the art with write-ups and information about the artists and a link back to the artist’s website.”

The artists then help promote the community while the community promotes them.

Panelists suggest to view art as an experience through the lens of a community and tell your brand's story to connect to that. In turn, communities will often experience an increase in positive reviews and a higher level of resident satisfaction.

The bottom line is that art brings people together and is no longer just found in galleries.

“Every place can be inspirational and beautiful,” Zacher said.

Click here for the replay.

  • Susan Vickery, Principal at Caryatid Consulting
  • Kari Warren, Chief Operating Officer at Kairoi
  • Laurel Zacher, Vice President, Marketing and Talent Development at Security Properties
  • Manuela Seve, Co-Founder & CEO of Alpha'a

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