Art rental

Paul N

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jun 10, 2005
CT, not far from the LI Sound
I have this idea on my mind for a while now:

Rent art to people who are having a large party, dinner or whatever. We deliver, hang, then pick-up the art.

Has anyone done something like this? Bad idea? Good idea? Gotchas, insurance, liability (say, some guest eyes hurt from looking at the art...)??

Eventually, sell the art as pre-viewed...for a discount!

The library here in Roch lets patrons check out framed art in exactly the same way as books.

But I would worry about the part where you propose going to their home to hang the art. Are you going to make a nail hole or two in their wall? And then leave the empty hook hanging there naked when you pick up the piece?

Oh wait - that could be a good incentive for them to buy or rent more art.

We've played with this idea and haven't come up with a scenario that made us comfortable. Perhaps done through a professional event planner it could work, but I would be real hesitant about putting anything of value in someone's home specifically for a party without huge a full value security deposit.
I know of a gallery that offered leasing to professionals and regretted ever having done that. They ended up acting as their own collection agency, and had to sue the client to get their stuff back after payments stopped.

Thought about doing some inexpensively framed stuff and offering a leasing service to professionals. Have a stock inventory that would allow you to rotate out the images on a quarterly basis. A friend of mine that had a plant maintenance business (come to your office once a week and water/clean the plants and change out for fresh stock periodically) thought he could incorporate the art leasing into his established route. Nothing ever came of it and he's a mortgage broker now.
A little off subject but I have had some success in lending framed original artwork to individuals whose homes are on local fund raising house tours. They must be willing to display my biz cards and pay for any damage to the piece. I usually frame the item using expensive materials or unusual techniques. So far I have sold a few well priced items. In addition I get people coming in to my gallery for art and/or framing. The piece is on loan for 3 days max and I get a fair amount of exposure to people possibly looking for new sources and ideas.
Thanks all for your input. I agree, there will be some kind of hassle (payment, insurance, damage).

But I was thinking of offering this not to the general public, but to very good customers (assuming that some of them will have such a need).

Tim's idea is a also great (fund raising house tours), That really offers great exposure.

One thing that I will always decline: When a realtor wants to "borrow" (read: free of charge) some art for an open house. You can imagine the damage possibilities!

And yes, one of them asked me just that a few weeks ago.
Paul don't let this go yet...Framerguy has mentioned in the past doing something like this. He did it with banks and something else. He might have some insight...Oh FramerGuy where you at???

Hey, well, my tale of renting art is contained in that link that Bob Doyle posted up top. It worked out fine for me but I had a gallery in a small town setting and everybody knew everybody else in the local business environment. I charged $15/month/per piece of art and rented to a number of banks in the area. I would rotate the art every 3 months and it went from one bank to the next until it had made the rounds. Each quarter I would take a load of new art to place in the first bank on the list. Make sure that you take enough to replenish the bank with the most art pieces on display. I learned that lesson the hard way! I didn't get rich renting art but it DID pay the mortgage on the gallery property.

The other thing that I did with my framed pieces was to display them in some of the large homes that were on the Christmas Art Walk that was held each year. It gave me good exposure and I was allowed to place one piece on an easel in the foyer or close to the entrance area of each home with a nice sign that said something to the effect, "Artwork displayed by ______________ Art Gallery, such and such address, All pieces displayed are 10% off retail during the Art Walk." You can word a sign any way you want to entice the public to visit your art gallery/frameshop.

There is an element of risk to ventures like this particularly if you are in a large metro area and don't have a business policy that covers damaged art in a rental setting. I had a rental contract that I had each bank sign that made them responsible for any damage to the rented art. But in 2 years of renting I never had an instance of damaged art.

Thanks FramerGuy for the info.

Banks sound like a good place for continuous rentals. And I like the idea of the Art Walk. It might be quite feasible in the town where I have my business.

Thanks again for all your feedbacks.