Curatorial Connection

Through its Curatorial Connection program, the Monona East Side Business Alliance offers businesses the opportunity to integrate fine art into offices as a way to improve workplace productivity and creativity, and enhance brand awareness and corporate culture while promoting the arts.

Launched in July 2017, the Monona East Side Business Alliance (MESBA), created Curatorial Connection, a program to increase opportunities for artists to exhibit their art in local businesses while providing businesses with an easy connection to local fine artists. The Artist Directory is a list of fine artists that are members of MESBA. These artists have works available for rent to area businesses. The time period can be six months or one year and that can be determined by you and the artist working together to find what suits your space needs best.

MESBA members took the 2017 annual survey and were asked to express their interest in renting art from local artists. Responses showed that many MESBA members want the opportunity to show local art in their workspaces. The need for these connections exists and MESBA can serve as the connector between the business community and the arts community.

Whether your space is large or small, your art needs are permanent or temporary, you should be able to find an artist that suits your needs. The Monona East Side community is home to the creative class in our area and MESBA is taking the initiative to create more opportunities for artists. 


Forbes: The Impact of Art in the Workplace: Excerpt: “The notion that art in the workplace is merely decorative was dispelled in a survey of more than 800 employees working for 32 companies throughout the U.S. that have workplace art collections. The survey, a collaboration of the Business Committee for the Arts and the International Association for Professional Art Advisors drew responses from firms ranging from food distributors to law firms that house workplace collections. It found that art in the workplace helps businesses address key challenges such as reducing stress (78% agree), increasing creativity (64% agreed) and encouraging expression of opinions (77% agreed).”

The Guardian: Art Works: How Art in the Office Boosts Staff Productivity: Excerpt: “Some companies consciously use art as part of their retention strategy,” he says. “Aesthetic in the truest sense means energy-giving which is what a workplace needs, rather than a bland, industrial environment which can be more like giving workers a dose of anaesthetic.”

Fast Company: 5 Creative Ways to Use Art to Boost Employee Morale: Excerpt: “Art is more than aesthetic. It has a positive–and powerful–physiological impact on the brain. Fine and performing arts have been used in health care programs around the world to help reduce blood pressure while improving one’s focus and outlook on their job or about life in general.

As your organization’s CEO, bringing art into the workplace is one way that you can improve the well-being of your own team, and your entire organization.

Art will help your team look at something with a different perspective by stimulating creativity and thoughtful observation. Art can combat tunnel vision, and help make a cold, sterile work environment feel more inspiring.


• Determine your annual budget for art rental.

• Determine your timeframe for rental: note that time goes very quickly and doing quarterly installations is probably going to be too frequent. Every six months or an annual basis is a more manageable time frame.

• Take an inventory of your wall spaces and determine how many pieces you may need and have a map of the maximum sizes that you could accommodate.

• Contact your insurance agent to be sure that your coverage will cover the cost of the art if anything is damaged.

Download the Artist Directory which is sorted by cost ($-lowest; $$$-highest).

• Contact an artist or two to check on availability. The artist will do the installation. If you’d like to have a rail system installed and work with an licensed curator to source pieces for you and do the installation, contact Gallery Marzen. If you do not have a rail system, you may want to install hardware for hanging heavy art so artists don’t have to hammer into your walls. Click here for a list of display rail systems.

• After you’ve determined the artist and pieces you will be renting, setup a time for installation with the artist. Artists often juggle multiple jobs and work on a schedule that doesn’t often fit into the typical business hours so be sure to call them and confirm the time you establish for installation the week before and the day before installation.

• When your art is installed, be sure to contact us to provide us with feedback on how the program worked for you. And, don’t forget to send us some photos so we can help promote you as a success story of the Curatorial Connection program!

If you have questions and you’d like to discuss the program, please give us a call at (608) 222-8565. 


• Open to all fine artists whose work is original in concept, design and execution. Photographers will need to have images that are framed and ready to hang. Painters, illustrators and mixed media artists also need to have art that can be easily displayed and is ready to hang. This program works best for artists that have an inventory of pieces (at least 6) available at all times. This program is not open to crafters or jewelry makers but we can provide you with a resource list if you’re seeking locations to sell your goods.

• Complete the MESBA member application; then, email us three samples of your work or provide us with a link to your work to be reviewed by the arts committee. The arts committee is made up of Margaret LeMay from Marzen, Mark Weller of Mark Weller Photography, and Kristie Schilling from MESBA. It is critical that MESBA maintain a very high level quality of artists in this program so please note that the selection process is rigorous.

• If your work is approved, MESBA will contact you notifying you of acceptance into the program. After acceptance, we’ll await your annual fee of $30. After receiving your payment (check, credit card or Paypal accepted), we’ll activate your membership and list you on our online Artist Directory and our in print directory.

• Marketing options you’ll receive include your listing (with link to your site) on our website which receives an average of 8,500 visits per month, continuous promotional opportunities to our members about the program, your name and website listed in the Guide to the Monona Area (15,000 circulation in print/unlimited views online), pop up art exhibition opportunities at select MESBA events like the Tasting for a Cause Gala, and word of mouth referrals by MESBA staff throughout the community.

• If you need help developing your rental rates, this website could serve as a great resource.

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