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Making an Impact on Real Estate, Creating Communities

Posted by Janet Langsam

Does art on the wall help lease up a building? “Absolutely, it does,” according to Mark Alexander one of the principals in The Horizon at Fleetwood, a luxury residential building in Mt. Vernon, NY.


The art that a business chooses for their establishment reflects what the business wants to say about itself. Art speaks to the culture, self-expression, and creativity of a place. Following a successful art exhibition at the property, Mark Alexander explains further: “Highly visible art can create a mood, promote pride in place, and raise the level of energy in the space where it is located.  In short, great public art can be great for business.”


Alexander continues, “when we launched our collaboration with ArtsWestchester with the installation of “Contemporary Rhythms,” The Horizon was 50% occupied. And now, as we close the exhibition we are fully leased. Did the art exhibition contribute to the overall positive energy in the building and our marketability? Absolutely.”


Art and real estate merged in the innovative partnership ArtsWestchester recently launched with The Horizon at Fleetwood. The joint initiative establishes a promising business model aimed at highlighting local artists in a fresh way and introduces vibrancy to a new residential community.


“The Contemporary Rhythms” exhibition, curated by ArtsWestchester, launched the relationship between building management and ArtsWestchester and presented more than 30 abstract works by seven Westchester artists in a professional exhibition for a four-month term. ArtsWestchester will curate two additional exhibitions at the property throughout the coming year, providing an ongoing cultural amenity for residents.


The concept of blending the arts with real estate ventures has proven successful in the past. Real estate development company Kessler Enterprise, Inc. is known for integrating art projects into luxury hotels and resorts by hosting monthly art exhibitions and receptions. Manhattan’s Flatiron Hotel created a performance space with a stage in their uniquely designed lobby area, allowing visitors to connect with the city’s theatrical presence. In turn, the hotel is becoming an integral part of its nearby artistic community.


Artwork adds entertainment, but also helps to transform a space into a unique experience by adding context, aesthetic value, and greater purpose to its environment. For The Horizon at Fleetwood, this type of inspired and vibrant environment is important for residents and visitors alike.


In fact, for The Horizon management, a rotating contemporary art exhibition program is thought of as a building amenity the same way they might think of landscaping. The investment in art is planned to be an ongoing part of the vitality of the building. The creative common area is as important as any of the building’s amenities.


It’s wonderful to see the impact original artwork can have in an environment, both for the residents and for the building management. The type of collaboration we forged with The Horizon at Fleetwood is one that will have a lasting effect.


In many ways, we were presented a blank canvas and we filled the building with energy, color, and movement through the exhibition. Exhibits create a dynamic living space for residents, a gallery for visitors, a distinctive amenity for building management and an innovative arts and business collaboration for the greater community.


When non-traditional venues bring new life to businesses with art, it often jump-starts the revitalization of a downtown or city by attracting other businesses, residents, and cultural happenings. Along with having an economic impact on local businesses, partnerships like these create job opportunities and promote visibility for emerging artists.


In addition to businesses investing in public art or exhibition programs, many cities and municipalities are also encouraging developers to consider the incorporation of art into their building design while still in the planning and construction phases of development.


Image: Barry Mason. Oil on Shaped Canvas.


*Originally posted on ARTSblog.

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