Dreaming of Summer Vacation?

Dreaming of summer vacation?

That means it’s time to plan collection maintenance and seasonal rotations for the summer season. Here’s what to know, before you go…

When we think about planning our summer vacations, we often think of booking tickets and making reservations for ultimate rest and relaxation. These days, we take into account COVID guidelines. Whether you are traveling safely or staying home this season, May is the time for planning those summer months. There is no better time for art collectors to make plans for their collection as it weathers the summer months ahead.

Spring is the optimal time to schedule summer maintenance, collection reviews, conservation, and major installation work. It is also the time to consider the effect of Austin’s unique climate and harsh sun on works of art. Meeting now with your team of dedicated arts professionals can pay major dividends in protecting art from the summer heat and preventing surprises when you return in the fall.

“One of our clients called about some water damage to a piece last summer,” says Vault co-founder and CEO Robert Boland. “It turns out that the client was having work done on his home. As construction crews walked in and out, opening and closing the doors, the HVAC system went into overdrive and started leaking water.” This is one of the surprises an art handling company and professional conservators and preparators can help art collectors avoid.

Vault is Austin’s boutique art handling, shipping, storage, and conservation specialist, founded and run by artists who specialize in art handling and large-scale sculptural installation. In 2020, Vault added an art conservation team to the company.

Often we think of conservation being focused upon the artwork itself, but professional art handlers encourage you to make conservation a central part of all home maintenance and updates.

Here are some helpful tips as you prepare for a summer trip:

  • Have your house manager or caretaker do weekly walk-throughs of all rooms on the property. Often in the quiet summer months, a room might not be entered again during your absence. Make sure someone is checking for leaks and condensation, every week.
  • Renovations done during summer months should be supervised by your house manager, to watch carefully over the collection.
  • If you leave while home renovations are happening, make sure all artwork is stored properly and out of harm’s way.
  • If HVAC is running through the summer, make sure all doors and windows are shut tightly.
  • Use art covers to protect works from dust and debris.
  • Move works on paper to storage to protect them from UV rays.

Chris Campbell, Director of Sales and Client Relations at Vault says, “always think about light exposure. Either relocate works or close the blinds. Consider art covers for sensitive artworks. These can save thousands of dollars on restoration costs.”

If you will be traveling, Campbell also suggests contacting your alarm company and insurance company to let them know you’ll be away, and to make sure your home security is working properly before you leave.

Rob Murphy, Vault’s new Director of Operations, who has previously worked with major North American and European fine art institutions, suggests institutions keep social distancing top of mind when designing summer exhibitions.

“Repositioning artworks to allow for greater social distancing, prior to reopening for summer programs, ensures that patrons of all comfort levels can appreciate artworks in a relaxed and contemplative setting.”

“Implementing such adjustments also enhances the artwork’s safety during what will surely be a busy season by reducing interaction to manageable numbers, increasing the visibility of both artworks and visitors for security and institutional staff.”

Vault is currently accepting appointments for collection site visits, offering recommendations and service plans as you prepare for summer installations, conservation, storage, and collection management.

Read More About The Author:

Laura August, PhD


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