21 Reasons Why Public Art Programs Use Artwork Archive

Elysian Koglmeier | August 22, 2022 (Updated September 26, 2022)

As a public art manager, you're juggling a lot—RFQs, selection panels, marketing, community engagement, collection management, conservation, etc. 

Simplify it all with Artwork Archive

Artwork Archive helps you keep all of those administrative balls in the air—organizing, managing and showcasing your art and artists.

Artwork Archive's online art collection management software helps streamline your workflow, collaborate remotely and drive engagement opportunities with your public. 

Learn why public art programs like Nebraska Arts Council, 4Culture, Boulder Arts + Culture, and San Diego International Airport use Artwork Archive to:

  • Track art inventory and locations.

  • Safeguard documents, images, video and audio files.

  • Record purchases, donations, and deaccessions.

  • Stay on top of conservation with maintenance tracking. 

  • Create equitable community access and engagement with online exhibitions, interactive maps, artist profiles and website embeds.

  • Easily communicate with committees and other stakeholders with reports, Private Rooms and a public portal to the collection. 

  • Easily set up fundraising opportunities with online art sales. 


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

If you’re managing an art program, you’re most likely not at your desk often. There are a million places to be, many people to connect with and limited hours in the day. 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 mosaic sculpture on main street and notice a missing tile, you can pull out your phone, photograph the work, add a note to the piece record within your Artwork Archive account, and contact your converator about replacing the tile. Tasks like that often get forgotten when you’re on the move.

Plus, an online art database helps you consolidate and centralize all of your collection details. You’ll have treatment plans attached to your artwork records; artist statements uploaded to your artist profiles; exhibition walkthrough videos for your upcoming show; GPS coordinates included in your public park location record. 

You’ll never lose track of key details. You’ll be ready when there’s a transition on your team. You’ll have all of your public art data accessible.  

“Before Artwork Archive, we utilized Filemaker which was cumbersome because it did not allow more than a few registered users to access the artwork collection via traditional desktop. Because of Artwork Archive's cloud-based technology our art collection can be seen from anywhere even via smartphone!

It's easy for our staff to access and locate art around our campus. Plus donors and friends can utilize the Artwork Archive website to find their favorite art pieces or donated artwork.” – Children’s Hospital Colorado

Screenshot from Children's Hospital Colorado's Public Profile, which is synced to their Artwork Archive database.


2. Multiple user access: No more licensing 

Online tools enable collaboration. Your teammates won’t be stuck with software on one computer in the office. 

With a system like Artwork Archive, multiple users can have access to information and the ability to edit and share from anywhere. Don’t let the collection rest on the shoulders of one person – distribute collection knowledge and tasks across your organization – even to interns and volunteers. 


3. Location tracking: Don’t lose artworks

Public art programs are expansive—encompassing civic buildings, parks, and sometimes town blocks to multiple towns. 

Location tracking tools let you know where your artwork is located without having to drive to its site. You’ll access all of its details from your database.

Have a storage unit? Know what’s exactly inside before driving over and searching through drawers and crates.

Have a mural in an alley? A sculpture in a park? Use GPS tracking to pinpoint exactly where the artwork is located. 

When all of this information is logged, you can easily make it viewable to the public. Locations are listed on the artwork’s page and with Artwork Archive’s Interactive Map, driving locations are included. 

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


4. Document storage: Have information in one place

Public art is not just about the art. There are many other important elements: community engagement, the creative process behind the making of the artwork, the conservation to preserve the legacy of the artwork, and the measurement of the installation’s success. 

To this end, there are many documents to organize–copies of RFPs, selection committee notes, artist contracts, exhibition lists, condition notes, treatment plans, volunteer hours, etc. Keep track of these key documents in one place.

Upload 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 name or image of a painting in the lobby. Cloud-based tools keep artwork, location, artist, and financial information in one place. 

“We switched from Filemaker Pro to Artwork Archive because of Artwork Archive's impressive functionality. Filemaker didn't offer nearly as many tools as Artwork Archive. Also, from a bandwidth perspective, we had to deal with massive files in Filemaker and it would crash our computers. 

With Artwork Archive it is easy to log in quickly. I can ask, "how did we treat this work in 2012? And look at a report in my account and find the answer easily. It's not as easy in Filemaker. It took longer to load. And with Artwork Archive we don't have to be on a desktop to access.” – San Diego International Airport


5. Price: Save thousands of dollars

Collection management does not need to zap your funds. Save money with your art collection management system so that you can allocate those funds elsewhere—like staffing, conservation and programming. 

Premier technology does not have to break the bank and at Artwork Archive our organization plans start at only $29 a month. Plus, we offer a lifetime 30% discount to nonprofit organizations, including government agencies.

“Why did we choose Artwork Archive? Cost…and it had all of the features we needed. And some we didn't even realize we needed. The cost is extremely affordable in comparison to other systems out there.” – Arts & Health at Duke University


6. Maintenance records: Preserve your collection

Artwork is susceptible to damage when it's out in public space, and it’s not just the typical wear and tear of buffing bronzes and fixing lifted paint. Conservation may involve treating graffiti on a mural or re-installing a fallen sculpture after a hurricane. 

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 the case for increased maintenance spend.

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


You can also create condition reports for every piece so that you have a baseline. There may be a crack in a painting, but when the paint starts to lift, you’ll need to address it.

"My favorite parts of Artwork Archive are the Maintenance and Reminder tools. They help us stay on top of conservation. For instance, we know that a particular piece needs a treatment every two years. I can put in a reminder every 18 months to make sure we are checking in. We are a small team. We get busy. We get bogged down. The reminder comes up even before I walk into the terminal." – San Diego International Airport


7. Report generation: Save time and communicate easily

Do you envision a world without mail merges and hours spent assembling reports and developing Powerpoints? Good news, you can take those tasks off your plate with Artwork Archive's report generator. Our templates help you save time. With a few clicks of a button you can create inventory lists, condition reports, gallery labels, etc. 

  • Have to share information with your RFQ finalists? Create a report of all of the sculptures in your collection for the artists to review.
  • Making the case for an increased maintenance budget? Pull a report of maintenance costs to date.
  • Communicating with your insurance broker, accountant, or legal team? Have all of your financials and insurance information to share.
  • Installing a show in your lobby? Make and print artwork labels. 


8. Private Rooms: Reduce communication back and forth 

Private Rooms are one of the most popular and utilized tools within Artwork Archive. Prepare online viewing rooms to share your collection exclusively with your contacts. Easily select your artworks and curate a collection. Then, invite your collaborators to a private online gallery of your works. 

Need to manage an art selection committee meeting (remotely)? Create a Private Room and send the artworks to panelists with one link. Your collaborators can reply directly to your Private Room with feedback on artworks. Track their responses with Messages and Favorites. 

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


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

“I like most that I am able to empower the artists to submit their own work through the submission portal rather than migrating all of the information myself. It has decreased my workload and freed up time to speak with the artists more intimately.” TILA Studios

We’ve created a way to cutback on the administrative task of uploading artworks 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 title, medium, creation date, price, etc.

"One thing that we really love, especially for rotating exhibits, is the artist can upload their artworks and images to our Artwork Archive account. That saves a lot of time...This all had to be done in different forms before. Now it's in one place." – Arts & Health at Duke at Duke University Hospital


10. Schedule Reminders: Set it to forget it

You’ve got enough to keep in your head, leave the tasks and deadlines to Artwork Archive. We’ll remind you of what’s coming up. 

Set reminders for installations, RFQ deadlines, grant deadlines, 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. 

 Your Artwork Archive Schedule keeps you and your teammates organized and on the same page.


11. Public Profile: Promote your collection

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

Artwork Archive’s Public Profile is a public portal for your collection – hosted on our Discovery platform. You decide what artworks and information is public. Have information you don’t want included like acquisition cost and condition? That’s fine! Easily select what information you want to share like medium, creation date and locations so people know where to find that captivating kinetic sculpture.

On your Public Profile community members can learn more about your artworks—searching by piece, artist, collection name. Utilize the News section of the Public Profile to share special events and details about your collection. 

“We needed a way for our constituents to see the scope of public art in the community. Artwork Archive allowed us to showcase that public art in a compelling, customizable way. We love it for its flexibility and customization to our needs. The Integration with the look and feel of our online promotion of local public art was seamless. We were considering ArcGIS but we decided to choose Artwork Archive for its ease of use and easy integration.” – Arts Cheyenne

Check out the Public Profiles for Cheyenne’s Public Art ProgramNebraska 1% for Public Art and Fulton County Public Art Program.

Screenshot of Fulton County Public Art Program's Public Profile. 


12. Website Embed: Promote discoverability

And you can integrate your Public Profile onto your website!  Stop double entering information. Your public profile is synced to your inventory. 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.

“Artwork Archive has greatly raised Northglenn Arts profile. With such a robust and accessible system, Artwork Archive has allowed a smaller collection like ours, to have far greater reach and impact.” Northglenn Arts & Humanities Foundation


13. Interactive Map: Drive traffic to your artworks, literally

Let people explore your art collection with an Interactive Map. 

The Interactive Map will show the spread of your art collection—whether that be across the country, throughout town or on campus. Viewers can drill down to particular locations and learn more about specific artworks. Every artwork has a location and link to Google Map Directions. 

And if your installation is in a sculpture garden or a mural in an alley, you don’t need a formal location. Include GPS coordinates to bring people directly to your art.

You can also embed this map onto your website – a real win for public art collections that are looking to drive awareness to their program. 

Arts & Health at Duke uses Artwork Archive's Interactive Map to show where artworks are located across their campus. 


14. Online exhibitions: Enhance your programming with virtual shows

There are many advantages to online exhibitions, which is why we are seeing more virtual programming. 

First, you are not restricted to the constraints of a brick and mortar space. You can share more information. You can embed videos, share artist-related content and provide more historical context with an online exhibit. The internet is limitless. 

Also, you are not restricted by geographical or time restrictions. Anyone can access your exhibit. One client said that they turned on their Public Profile with their exhibits and within a week they saw increased traffic to their website. Nothing else had changed. 

Selling artwork as a fundraiser? Duke Arts and Health said that sales have tripled for their art shows because people are purchasing artwork outside of their community – sales were coming in from out of state.

Lastly, with online tools like this you are also preserving the legacy of the artists in your collection whether living or deceased. For contemporary artists, they’ll appreciate that they have a more permanent spotlight through your Public Profile beyond just a thumbnail and a brief description. 

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


15: 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 – whether searching sandwich options or ordering a latte. 

So now your audiences are ready to use QR codes to learn more about your artworks 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. 


16. Contact management: Have information at your fingertips

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

Track how many pieces you have from an artist. Keep their biography saved with images of their works. Note their demographics if you ever have inquiries or have to report upon it. 

Meeting with a donor? Within their contact record, you’ll see all of the artworks they’ve donated in the past along with other fiscal donations. 

Standing in front of a sculpture that has accumulated ash from a forest fire? Since Artwork Archive is accessible on your phone, you can take a photo and send it to your conservator ASAP.

“Artwork Archive is an indispensable resource to Children’s Hospital Colorado. It makes it super easy for the hospital’s foundation team or other teams around the hospital to locate specific artworks when we receive inquiries from donors, artists and the public.” Children’s Hospital Colorado

Keep track of all your key artist details within a streamlined CRM.


17. Data migration: Don’t be scared 

"Artwork Archive helped make the transfer from ArtSystems easy and was incredibly supportive throughout the transfer and onboarding process. The platform has dramatically simplified so much of what we do and we are very happy with our decision to make the switch." New York City Health + Hospitals

Need to move from an outdated system? Don’t let data migration scare you from making a necessary change in software. Artwork Archive migrates your data for you. We help institutions transfer from legacy systems like Access, Filemaker, Embark, ArtSystems and PastPerfect 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


18. Simple tools: No training needed

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’s not the case with Artwork Archive. Exceptional customer service is expected. And the team produces free educational content regularly to help you get the most out of the platform – plus learn best practices and contemporary strategies from the public art field. 

"Our experience with Artwork Archive has been overwhelmingly positive. The customer service is unbeatable! They are attentive, helpful, and friendly. They are dedicated to giving you the smoothest and least complicated experience. Artwork Archive puts in a team effort to make everything you need a top priority." City of Boulder Arts & Culture


19. Artist Profiles: Amplify artist voices 

With online tools, you can actively preserve the legacy of the artists in your collection. Contemporary artists will appreciate that they have a more permanent spotlight through your arts organization. Showcase all of their artworks in your collection – even those that were in a temporary show. Include their biographies. Link to their websites.

With online exhibitions and artist profiles, you can diversify your programming and offerings without overextending your staff or capacity. 

Did you also know that Artwork Archive creates free educational content for artists? Contact us today about presentations, articles and other resources for your artist community. 


TILA Studios use their Public Profile to drive awareness of Black female artists in Atlanta, GA.


20. Online Sales: Make your fundraising more sustainable

Artwork Archive has a suite of tools to help you sell artworks online – revenue tracking, purchase requests, invoices, Paypal integrations and more. Nonprofits learned during COVID how to bring their fundraisers online. 

Arts & Health at Duke has an annual art sale as a fundraising campaign. They saw their sales triple when they were no longer limited by space. Artists can submit as many artworks as they’d like and buyers can purchase an artwork without setting foot in the gallery – expanding the scope of the fundraiser beyond their city limits. 

“Artwork Archive is extremely user friendly and has so many usable features that have already increased the visibility of our permanent and rotating exhibits. Artist profitability has increased dramatically since we implemented this system. And sharing information is so much easier than our old system."  Arts & Health at Duke


21. 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 by creating easily-accessible records for existing and new teammates.

Take your public art programs to new heights with Artwork Archive.

“Artwork Archive has been an instrumental partner in helping take Children's Hospital Colorado's arts program to new heights. With Artwork Archive we have increased access to art across our System of Care and created a new standard for stewardship of our fine art collection. With Artwork Archive's suite of services we are able to create virtual exhibitions, catalog every piece of art, track donor and artist information, and more easily implement pieces for the greatest benefit of our audiences.” – Children’s Hospital Colorado


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