15 Minutes with New York Art Consultant Debbi Schonberger-Pierce

 “Pacheco Pass Trees” by James Hartman was curated by Art Solutions on behalf of a client
 “Pacheco Pass Trees” by James Hartman was curated by Art Solutions on behalf of a client
 “Pacheco Pass Trees” by James Hartman was curated by Art Solutions on behalf of a client

Art may seem to some as intuitive and on many levels, it can be. There are also circumstances for which a well-executed art and design plan is best accomplished by trained art professionals with deep knowledge of the industry. Our series on art consultants are taking a look at some of the most interesting movers and shakers in the field who execute extraordinary art projects for their individual, corporate, and public service clients, starting with UGallery client and owner of New York City’s Art Solutions, Debbi Schonberger-Pierce.Art Solutions Principal Debbi Schonberger-Pierce

What is Your Background and When Did You Get Into the Art Consultant Business?

I got my M.A. in Art Education from NYU. When I graduated, there were no jobs due to a recession. I was introduced to two women who owned a corporate art consulting company and took me under their wing and taught me the business. I’ve never looked back since. I love what I do. It allows me to keep current in the art world while making a living.

In 2005, I opened my own art consultant firm, Art Solutions. Art Solutions specialized in creating art programs for Corporate and Healthcare spaces. We also do art appraisals, de-accession, inventory and management and restoration.

What Project Are You Currently Working on?

I am currently finishing up designing all of the patient artwork for a new nine-story building for White Plains Hospital Center for Advanced Medicine and Surgery. Their theme was Mid--century Modern.

 

When Should Someone Consider Hiring an Art Consultant

Usually, companies look to hire an art consultant during a major move, renovation or expansion. It could be overwhelming doing it yourself. Most companies want to have a cohesive design that fits the culture of the company and the overall design of the space. An art consultant helps facilitate this“Evening Light” by Krispen Spencer

What Does an Art Consultant Offer That is Different Than What Can Be Achieved Procuring Art on Your Own?

As I mentioned, there is a cohesiveness to the design of the finished facility. An art consultant will have more resources, and be in touch with more art opportunities in all levels of budget.

What is One Thing You Wish People Knew About Working With an Art Consultant?

It is not as easy as it looks. It takes time, research and an innate design sense.“100 Sounds (IV)” by Jack R. Mesa

What Should People Expect From Working With an Art Consultant?

A good art consultant should be able to listen to their client’s likes, needs and budgetary requirements. As an art consultant, I take into consideration many aspects of design. First, there is the look that the client would like to achieve. Then there is sourcing the art. Also, there is price, as with everything. Often, art consultants are able to offer discounts on either art or framing, since we often deal with the artists directly and wholesale framers.

What Has Been Your Favorite Project and Why?

I always like supporting and sourcing local artists. One of my favorite projects started with Charter Communications in their headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut years ago. Charter wanted to source only artists from the state of Connecticut. I had to research and investigate appropriate artwork from different artists throughout the state. It felt really good to buy local. The other benefit is that it gave me a repertoire of new artists to offer to clients in following years. I often have sold other pieces to other clients from these artists that I found for this one project.

 

Tell Me About a Project Where Something Surprising Happened.

Once I had a patient from a hospital where I had designed the artwork reach out to me and tell me that the art placed in her room helped her get better. She said she would stare at the picture and lose herself in the good feelings she felt though the art. She swore it helped her heal.

Tell Me About Your Most Unique Installation.

One of Art Solutions most unique installations was a history corridor for Northwell Hospital Community Center that we commissioned and designed. The project was in the historic building of Lenox Hill Greenwich Village, New York City. The building was originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright student Albert Ledner (1924-2017) for the New York Maritime Union. It was a funky looking building that looked like a giant ship in the middle of 7th Ave South. After the closing of the Maritime Union, the historic St. Vincent’s Hospital took it over. When St. Vincent’s folded, Northwell took over this highly controversial historic site, and decided to convert it into a state of the art medical building, while keeping the integrity of the architecture. That was our challenge. We had these large curved concrete walls to create a unique design on and welcome the community.

We created three murals, (one on each wall) to tell the story of the building and its history. Working with Ledner’s daughter, we were able to procure many photographs and documents of design of the building along with the history of the Maritime Union.

Through extensive research, we reached out to the Sisters of St Vincent’s and were able to submit a full history of the building in its use as St. Vincent’s Hospital, which was at the forefront of treating many disasters in NYC, including the survivors of the Titanic, the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire, the AIDS epidemic and 9/11.

We had recent history supplied to us by Northwell in the building of the new hospital.

The most exciting thing was when we had the opening. The week before, Albert Ledner and his daughter came to see the new mural. It was the final thing that Ledner saw just before his death at 90 years old. The St. Vincent’s Sisters came to the opening and joined in the celebration uniting the new use of the building with the old. It was truly a unique experience how many people this project touched, and I was honored to be part of it.

What Piece or Pieces of Artwork Did You Procure From Ugallery and for What Type of Project?

I often procure art pieces from UGallery for one of my top Fortune 500 clients, who is a national wealth management corporation. They typically procure artwork from the local artists of the branch office we are designing. Many times, UGallery will put together a list of local artists from a region that I can select from.“Wetlands” by George Peebles

Many thanks to Debbi Schonberger-Pierce and Art Solutions. To learn more about Debbi’s work, check out her website at Home - Art Solutions (art-solutions.net). To shop UGallery’s selection of original works, you can check out new art weekly on our website.