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Art commissioning

Preparation - The Brief

Having developed the idea, considered the costs and decided to go ahead with the project, you need to solidify your ideas into a brief. This will then act as a guide to artists, both when advertising and as the project progresses. The brief gives everyone an agreed full picture about the context for the work. A good brief should be open enough to allow the artists to be creative but clear enough to ensure an effective selection process and quality outcome.

The brief is likely to evolve up to the point where the contract is agreed. The first version of the brief will define and explain the vision and the expected outcome.

A highly edited version of this may form the text for the advertisement for the commission, with the full version being sent out to potential candidates.

A third version will probably be produced once the artist has been chosen and the particular approach has been defined. This version will form the ‘schedule’ or part two of the contract giving detail to its standard terms, so it’s worth putting some time into this.

The Brief  - what the artist needs to know

A good brief could include

Remember, the brief may be reviewed following the selection process and discussion of the design detail with the selected artist(s). The artist can help you to refine the brief to feed eventually into the contract.

If you do know what the work is likely to be and exactly where it is likely to be located then you could undertake a risk assessment at this point. This may need to feed back to the budget in relation to insurance costs. If not then it can be done once the brief is developed.

Consultation, Documentation and Evaluation

You should have decided at this stage what role, if any you would like the artist to play in this aspect of the commission.


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