CODAworx Commissioned Art Guide

Our comprehensive guide to commissioning art

Commissioning a custom piece of art can feel daunting. Armed with the right questions and the proper resources, even a first time commissioner can engage an artist or creative team with confidence. CODAworx has the most comprehensive pricing guides in the industry. We developed innovative tools for commissioners, and our team of experts can guide you through the commissioning process.

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Finding an Artist or Creative Team

The most important step in a successful commission is choosing the right artist or creative team for your particular project and budget. Artist selection is the decision from which all others will flow. It’s worth investing time and energy in the selection process, seasoning the search with a combination of wild artistic hopes and hard-nosed realism.

Browse through thousands of projects on CODAworx. Our Project Library is fully searchable in a variety of ways, including the purpose that art serves in your building or space.

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Narrowing the Field

Once you have reviewed artist candidates and narrowed down your list to a small group of contenders, it’s time to speak directly with the candidates. This can be done face-to-face or in an online meeting. In these interviews:

  • Try to determine the artist’s interest in your project
  • Pay attention to your own comfort level with each artist
  • Try to find out if the chemistry is right – whether you have the basis to build a working relationship
  • Confirm that the artist has the necessary skills to undertake your project
  • Be thorough and specific when asking questions
  • Evaluate the artist’s style, approach, and personality
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Cumbernauld Sculpture 'Arria' being installed today alongside the A80. Pictured Sculptor Andy Scott from Glasgow.

Seek Two-Way Understanding

Be sure the artist understands the technical requirements of the job, including traffic flow, intended use of space, building structure, maintenance, lighting, and environmental concerns.  By fully explaining these details, you’ll ensure that the artist’s knowledge, experience, and skills inform the project. Keep the artist apprised of any changes that will affect the work in progress. At the same time, the artist should let you know of any special requirements that his or her work will place on the space. Most artists experienced with commissioned projects factor the expense of a continuing design dialogue into their fee.

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Put it in Writing

A signed contract or letter of agreement commits the artist to completing his or her work on time and to specifications.  It also assures the artist that he or she will get paid the right amount at agreed-upon times. Most contracts spend a lot of time defining terms for payment and milestones.  Payments are usually tied to specific milestones in the process. Payment is customarily made in three or four stages, although this will depend on the circumstances, scope and complexity of the project.  The first payment is usually made when the contract is signed. The second and third payments are generally set for points midway throughout the course of the project and are for work completed to date.

We offer members a Commission Contract Template to guide you in developing a comprehensive commission.

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