Advice and mediation
The agent or agency can contribute and mediate so as to create a full awareness of options available in approaching, developing and realising the full potential of a commission.
Not all public art projects are good, but good models exist. The one nearest may or may not be the best, it is advisable to look at other national and international models, many which are documented on the internet. Advisers allow original perceptions to be challenged and/or affirmed and can ultimately assist in improved, qualitative decisions. Art directors and curators have years of experience and training to support, encourage, affirm and guide the commissioning process. They link and interlink by applying relevant skills whether project management, liaison, mediation, facilitation, curatorial, advocacy, objectivity, evaluative dissemination, nationally and internationally etc. The mediating role is one that combines strategic oversight as well as insight into the particular artform. Such agents may be selected by the artist or the commissioner. Advisers will work to a public's brief in researching for artists to respond to overall commissioning needs and aspirations.
Outside expertise works where it is mutually beneficial in relation to parties to a commission. This is not about bringing in the experts, so much as drawing together expertise which could mean challenging existing resources to upskill. This has to be an empowering process. Locally based knowledge and resources are a part of the dynamic process.
There is lots of accessible information and advice available, both locally and nationally. Local Authority arts officers and public art coordinators have accumulated a broad range of experience in the field of commissioning and also have knowledge of national arts and artists' representative services and locally based creative resources. Artistic directors and curators have expertise in particular artforms, practices and procedures. Networks and cooperatives exist in and across artforms, drawing on local and global knowledge. Artists also work as advisers and initiators. Information and advice on criteria by which to assess and select exists within organisations such as the Arts Council and the Executive Agency Education Audiovisual Culture (EACEA).
- Has professional advice been sought and followed?
Greystones Educate Together National School appointed a voluntary committee with relevant expertise to oversee the per cent for art commissioning process. An external curator, Máire Davey, was appointed specifically for her expertise in working in a highly collaborative way as meaningful involvement from the students and school was viewed as central to the process. The procurement route chosen was limited invited competition.