15 Reasons Why Airport Art Programs Use Artwork Archive

Elysian Koglmeier | September 26, 2022 (Updated April 24, 2024)

Image courtesy of Silvia Fang on Unsplash.

Learn why airport art programs are turning to online art databases like Artwork Archive to organize, manage and showcase their permanent collections, percent-for-art commissions, and rotating exhibits. 

Many terminals are starting to look like museum wings.

Art programs are continuing to flourish in airports as airport authorities use art to welcome and entertain travelers, as well as share their local culture. 

Since airports are bustling, congested places, it’s critical to make sure your artworks are cataloged and protected. And not all airport collections have art personnel on staff so it’s even more imperative to have a database to manage the aspects of your art collection.  

Artwork Archive's online art collection management software helps streamline your workflow. Learn why airport art programs like San Diego International Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) use Artwork Archive to organize, manage and share out their artworks and exhibitions. 

1. Cloud-based tools: Access your collection from anywhere

Airports are not small places. And rarely are airport staff sitting at their desks for long. If you’re managing an art program, you’re in a million places and sprinting around the airport. Don’t let your collection management system tether you to your desk. 

With cloud-based tools, you can access your Artwork Archive account from anywhere on any device. If you walk by a sculpture in the Arrivals terminal and notice paint lifting from the work, you can pull out your phone, log into your Artwork Archive account, photograph the work, add a note to the piece record within your account, and contact your conservator about repainting the piece. Often things like that get forgotten when you’re running from one meeting to another–or from one terminal to another. 

Have a system that helps you work on the fly!

"It's easy to use Artwork Archive. Plus, we don't have to be on a desktop. When I am in the terminal, I can make notes right there for my team. Artwork Archive's simple tools are so helpful. My favorite parts of Artwork Archive are the Maintenance and Reminder tools. They help us stay on top of conservation." – San Diego International Airport


2. Multiple user access: Enable seamless collaboration 

Online tools enable collaboration. With Artwork Archive, multiple users can have access to information and the ability to edit from anywhere. You cannot collaborate from one computer. Don’t let a licensed database tether you to a desktop. Give colleagues, interns, and art committee members logins so that you can distribute tasks and information. 

“Artwork Archive has been a huge improvement for our airport foundation in terms of artist selection. Before, everything was a 'flat file.' Artists mailed in printed copies, CDs, zip drives—there was a lot of paper and a lot of inefficiencies.

Now everything is streamlined using Artwork Archive. I’ve heard nothing but good things from my steering committee using the platform. Our artworks are presented beautifully and professionally.” – Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport 


Never lose track of your artworks. You'll know exactly where they are thanks to Artwork Archive's Location tool.


3. Location tracking: Don’t lose artworks

Art is all over the place in airports—terminals, rental car facilities, parking lots, etc. Stop your art scavenger hunt. Location tracking tools let you know where your artwork is located. 

Artwork Archive even has GPS coordinates so that you aren’t dependent on an address to log a mural or installation.

Have a storage unit? Know what’s exactly inside before driving over and searching through drawers and crates. Sub locations and tertiary locations give you specificity so you’ll know where everything is located…down to the shelf. 

Salt Lake City International Airport found Artwork Archive’s online tools instrumental when they moved their art collection during an intensive rehaul of their airport–adding new terminals and installing new percent-for-art projects. 


4. Document storage: Keep files attached to your records

Owning and exhibiting art is multifaceted. You don't just purchase a piece, hang it on the wall and sit back. You've got lots of things to organize like floor plans, artist contracts, exhibition lists, condition notes, etc. Keep track of these key documents in one place.

Upload engineering records to public art records. Add contracts to artist contacts. Attach floor plans to location records. Record and remember important information like arts programming schedules, treatment plans from conservators, and videos from unveilings. 

No more sifting through manila folders, searching and opening multiple desktop folders to find an artist's name or image of a painting in the lobby. Cloud-based tools keep artwork, location, artist, and financial information in one place. 


5. Price: Save thousands of dollars

Did your art program get hit by budget cuts during the pandemic? Save money with a more affordable art database, and allocate those funds elsewhere like exhibitions, marketing, and staffing. 

Premier art collection technology does not have to break the bank and at Artwork Archive our organization plans start at only $29 a month. We also offer a lifetime 30% discount to nonprofit and government programs. 

Save all of your key conservation details in your Artwork Archive account so that you can continue to preserve your artworks.

6. Maintenance records: Preserve your collection

Artwork is susceptible to damage in airports. Travelers are rushing, distracted, and have children in tow. 

With Artwork Archive maintenance records you can track what was done, when, by whom and how much it cost. This is helpful for many reasons:

  • Save information on how the artist intended the piece to be preserved.

  • Create a treatment record for each piece. Don’t second guess years from now. 

  • Save your conservator’s treatment plans and recommendations. 

  • Scheduling upcoming conservation.

  • Track your budget and make a case for increased maintenance spending.

You can also create condition reports for every piece so that you have a baseline for prioritization. 


7. Private Rooms and Reports: Save time with online viewing rooms and report templates

Do you envision a world without mail merges and hours spent assembling reports and developing PowerPoints? Well, good news, you can take those tasks off your plate with two popular Artwork Archive tools – Private Rooms and Artwork Archive's report generator

With Private Rooms, you can easily curate a collection of works to share with a particular audience. Send them a portfolio of artwork complete with artwork details and artist profiles. Solicit feedback with Messages and Favoriting. 

Private Rooms are great for art selection committee collaboration. Need to present a new sculpture commission to the committee? Quickly create a Private Room of all of your received RFPs for their review and feedback. 

Looking for a more traditional PDF? Our report templates help you save time. With a few clicks of a button, you can create inventory lists, maintenance reports, financial documents, acquisition reports, gallery labels, etc. 

Communicating with your insurance broker, accountant, or legal team? Have all of your financials and insurance information to share in one cohesive report.

“We easily share information in our board meetings. We can present reports or show them the collection online. We give them the Private Room link and tell them to go browse the collection.” – Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Use Private Rooms to easily share information and images directly from your art database.


8. Schedule Reminders: Don’t lose track of tasks

You’ve got enough to keep in your head–leave the tasks and deadlines to Artwork Archive. We’ll remind you. 

Set reminders for artwork drop-offs, installations, exhibition openings, conservation, appraisals, etc. It all lives within the Schedule. You can sync these reminders to your calendar. And, Artwork Archive will send you a weekly to-do list every Monday to help you stay on task. 


9. Online Exhibitions: Manage and promote your temporary shows.

“We're using Artwork Archive to share current exhibits and archived exhibits. Artwork Archive has been a godsend–to be able to publish our exhibits online and get them onto our website, that has been a huge boon to our operations.

If we had to do this on our own, we’d waste a lot of time bringing up images, making sure the text lines up, etc. With Artwork Archive we just have an embed link and it shows beautifully on our website. I’m 1000% happy with being able to present our permanent and our exhibits on Artwork Archive. Having the ability to share our works through the Artwork Archive platform has been incredibly beneficial.” Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Have temporary exhibits? Works on loan? You can track and promote your shows within the Exhibition tool. 

There are many advantages to online exhibitions. First, you are not limited to your physical space. You can share more information. You can include videos and share artist-related content with an online exhibit. The internet is limitless. 

Produce a QR code to direct people to more information. Sync the exhibition from your Artwork Archive account to your website.

Your viewers also have a limited time to engage with your shows before they take off. Give them a way to continue engaging with your programming once they’ve reached their destination. 

An additional advantage of creating online shows within Artwork Archive is that you create a digital archive of your exhibitions. Years from now you'll have an accessible record of past shows. 

10. Public Profile: Showcase your collection with artist profiles, interactive maps, and website embeds. 

By default, all of your information is private within your Artwork Archive account but if you’d like to share your collection, you can activate your Public Profile – a public viewing portal of your art collection that can be embedded onto your website as well. 

Make information accessible to your travelers and staff. Here they can view artist profiles, online exhibitions, thematic collections (i.e. mosaics, percent for art, terminal-specific sites, etc.), and an interactive map. The interactive map view is great for creating a scavenger hunt or walking tour for those with extended time in the airport. 

Have information you don’t want to be included (such as price)? That’s fine! Easily select what info you want to share.

You can link to your Public Profile from your social media. And you can integrate your Public Profile onto your website. Stop double entering information. Your public profile is synced to your inventory so as you update your account, the information will be updated on your profile. Plus, you don’t have to be beholden to your IT team to update your art program page.


Check out Arts@MSP's Public Profile.


11. Contact management: Have info at your fingertips

With contact management tools you can have contact info at the ready for artists, conservators, curators, etc.

Track how many pieces you have from an artist. Keep their biography saved with images of their works. 

Standing in front of a mosaic that is missing some tiles? Since Artwork Archive is accessible on your phone, you can take a photo and send it to your conservator ASAP.


12. Data migration: Don't be stuck with an outdated and overpriced database

Don’t let data migration scare you from making a necessary change in software. Artwork Archive migrates your data for you. We help people convert from systems like Filemaker, ArtSystems, PastPerfect and Embark on a daily basis. A free data import comes with every organization plan and saves you significant time and gets you up to speed on your new account. You can learn more in this article about switching systems


13. Simple tools: No training needed to set up your art collection

You don’t have time to train up on a collection management system! You definitely don’t have time to train your colleagues. Why not use an intuitive system that you can log into and immediately start uploading and accessing information?

Some collection management systems entail training sessions, technology support for a fee, and just mind-blowingly complicated interfaces. That is not the case with Artwork Archive; you can get up and running in no time. 

But if you do need support, we’re here for you. Our customer support is unparalleled. You have access to a team of dedicated and passionate collection managers who are happy to jump on the phone and assist. Additionally, we produce free education resources like our webinars and eGuides. Find us in professional communities like Americans for the Arts Public Art Network and the American Association of Aviation Executives (AAAE).


14. QR Codes: Go beyond the plaque and label

The public art community introduced QR codes over a decade ago, but the public was not ready yet to incorporate the technology; it wasn’t commonplace. Now, due to the pandemic, everyone is well-versed in QR codes – from searching sandwich options or ordering a latte. 

So, now your audiences are ready to use QR codes to learn more about your artwork and collection. Easily create QR codes from your Artwork Archive account. Provide more information and context beyond the limiting space of an Avery label. Link the QR codes to your website or to the artist’s website. We’ve even seen groups linking to videos so that viewers can watch the artist in action or learn more about their process. 


15. Artist Upload tool: Simplify calls for artists and show management 

We’ve created a way to cut back on the administrative task of uploading artwork and artist information into your Artwork Archive account. Our bulk upload and data imports save you time, but now you can let artists upload artworks directly into your account. 

Whether you’re planning an upcoming show or populating your account with new inventory, you don’t have to enter the information. The artist will send it directly from their account.

You’ll avoid mistakes. Since the data is coming directly from the artist’s account, it will most likely be entered correctly–meaning no miscommunication in the title, medium, creation date, price, etc.


Plan ahead because your art collection will outlast you.

Have all of your collection information in your head? Everything on paper? Will a mural need to be treated in 10 years? Prepare for the future of the art collection and airport by creating easily-accessible records for existing and new teammates.


Curious to see our tools in action? Schedule a demo today!

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