This week on ArtEvolve we dove into fine art shipping during the pandemic with the experts. We were very fortunate to be joined by leaders from two of the world’s fine art shipping powerhouses: Crozier and Crown.
Our guests were Simon Hornby, President of Crozier Fine Arts, and Fred Weijgertse, Group VP of Crown Fine Art, who took part in an in depth discussion of fine art shipping COVID-19 protocols and pandemic trends that will affect the art world for months and even years to come.
The Current Fine Art Shipping Situation
Both Crown and Crozier have the health and wellbeing of their staff and clients as their first priority. As they look to managing regulations in their respective primary operating regions they have noticed trends that are important for art institutions to be aware of.
Regulations in the United States are very fragmented, changing even from town to town and city to city. This means that Crozier, which is based in New York, has spent copious amounts of time discerning these regional and local orders in order to transport art with the lowest risk possible.
In Europe, countries are at various stages with their quarantines and lockdowns. Each of these countries have different regulations in place regarding transport and shipping. Crown, which operates heavily in Europe, keeps in eye daily on changes in these regulations. And although some quarantines are starting to lift, there may be second waves that affect transport in the future.
This is an unprecedented situation – there has never been an event that has affected art movement globally for this period of time. Fine art shippers are working overtime to learn how they can best serve their clients given the new global environment.
COVID-19 Fine Art Shipping Offerings
Fine art shippers are committed to finding ways to move art around the world as quickly and as safely as possible.
- Safe Ground Transport. Transporting fine art by truck is the most reliable form of shipping in this period. Both Crozier and Crown are developing partitions in their vehicles that allow for the driver and crew to travel safely together for long haul trips. All organizations are using appropriate PPE and disinfecting shipments as well as vehicles.
- Transparent Communication. More authentic and accessible communication with clients has come out of the pandemic and is here to stay.
- Digital Processes. Moving the ability to order services, look at inventory, or view art online are all priorities. Many of these processes are already being made available digitally.
- Virtual Courier. A new initiative to document art movement without a human courier. Want to help craft the solution? Join us next week for an interactive discussion and to become a Virtual Courier beta tester! Register here: https://events.articheck.com/virtual-courier
- Smart Working. Working from home or coming into the office in shifts will be the new normal. But fine art shippers are also having to organize their onsite staff in creative ways to reduce contagion. One example is Crown’s art handler “family” teams that will always work together.
Shipping Safety Protocols
- Transportation. Social distancing as well as the use of gloves and masks. PPE is both used by the handling team and given as an option to clients.
- Storage. As a controlled environment, fine art shippers feel confident they have put into place effective safety and hygiene protocols, including providing PPE to visiting clients and placement of disinfecting stations, to protect staff and clients.
- Industry Communication. One of the best ways to establish a safe environment in the field is to clearly communicate safety expectations across the industry. The Art Services Worker Safety Coalition out of New York, which Crozier is a member of, is one example of shipping and handling organizations coming together to establish clear, uniform measures going forward.
- Shipment Quarantine. Already built into the shipping process are rest periods during which objects and their packing materials are not handled for a duration of time. These rest periods are advantageous when considering the half life of the virus on various materials and reducing the risk of spread.
Fine Art Shipping Trends Coming Out of COVID-19
- Sustainability. Now that we’ve seen as a global community the impact of reduced transport and waste can have on our planet, there is an expectation from the wider art market that fine art shippers help institutions operate more sustainably.
- Cutting Costs. Budgets are being reduced, due to lower sales for galleries or months without visitors for museums. Finding ways for institutions to spend less while maintaining the quality of service will be key going forward.
Our interactive discussion about Virtual Courier will take place on May 28th at 12-1pm EST.
And we want you to help craft this solution!
Register for the Virtual Courier webinar: https://events.articheck.com/virtual-courier
A special thank you to our guest speakers
Simon Hornby, President of Crozier Fine Arts, and Fred Weijgertse, Group VP of Crown Fine Art.