Julia Bell

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Newcastle business launched to help companies buy and commission art for the workplace

A company specialising in helping businesses to buy and commission art for the workplace has been launched by North East art expert Julia Bell.

Newcastle-based Parapluie works with businesses, individuals, interior designers and architects, guiding them through the process of selecting and buying contemporary art. Julia Bell, who formerly held the positions of Head of Partnerships at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Curator at Middlesbrough Art Gallery (later MIMA), explains: “A lot of companies here in the North East are interested in supporting artists and the cultural sector by investing in a piece of original art for their premises.

“My role is to help companies to select an artist who is right for them and to manage the entire process, from valuation and negotiations through to delivery and installation of the artwork.

With a 20 year career in the art and cultural sector, Julia has built up contacts with artists and galleries in the North East and also nationally and internationally.

She has worked with companies ranging from SMEs to some of the region’s biggest names, specifying artworks for existing premises and newly-designed office buildings. Paul Jennings, Joint Managing Director at NORTH P&I, a Newcastle-based marine insurer which is one of the biggest shipping liability insurers in the world, said: “NORTH appointed Julia to work with us on selecting an artwork for our renovated headquarters. We were looking for work for our foyer that provided a stimulating backdrop and brought the space together for both staff and visitors entering our offices.

“Julia guided us through the process and procured work by an internationally recognised but locally based artist Dan Holdsworth which felt fitting for a company locally based but with a global remit. The process was effortless, from selection to installation. The work continues to spark dialogue with visitors and staff. “

Julia adds: “There are so many benefits to having art in the workplace. Aside from the investment potential – companies often see their purchases increase in value over time – it can significantly improve the working environment for staff and clients, stimulate creativity and create a sense of individuality in a workplace.

“The most important thing is that companies end up with a piece of art which is exactly right for them and that’s where I can help.”

As well as offering an art advisory service for individuals and businesses, Parapluie organises regular visits to artists’ studios, art fairs and exclusive preview events through its members club. Find out more at www.parapluieart.com.

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