Developing an Art Budget for Your Hospital Project

Final Final dollars in frame

dollars in frameFrom the onset when creating a budget for artwork in your new hospital, it is preferable to know; 1) the overall facility square footage, 2) the functional space needs (as a space program would provide), 3) a vision for the environment you are creating and 4) a list of items that you want included in the budget (i.e. art pieces-both interior and exterior, freight, framing, installation and artwork consultant).  In many healthcare facility designs today, artwork plays as vital role in promoting a healing environment as does natural light, natural materials (stone and wood), healing gardens and soothing colors/finishes.

For initial budgeting, we have typically used a “high level” approach by applying a cost per square foot. Some professionals disagree with this approach, but based on our past experience, it is one viable starting point.

A “good, better, best” method could be used to determine the cost per square foot (in 2016 $):

Good – $.50-$1.00 per gross building square foot *
Better – $1.00-$2.50 per gross building square foot *
Best – $2.50 and up per gross building square foot *

*This cost per square foot would include the cost of the artwork, framing, freight and installation. The cost of an art consultant managing the selection, procurement and installation process is separate.

Another approach used on federally funded capital projects is allocating 1% of the construction budget for artwork.  Also, there are programs that allow organizations to rent artwork for periods of time.  A rental approach to artwork typically also allows for the artwork to be periodically switched out for different artwork.  Think of it as leasing the artwork instead of purchasing it.

Don’t forget to include monies in the budget for an art consultant. The use of an art consultant to plan an art program, coordinate with the architect and interior designer, select artists, procure/negotiate artwork, coordinate framing, delivery and installation has become a necessary part of healthcare facilities today.

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