Examples of biophilic art that can have positive effects on aging adults.

Great art does more than fill wall space or even tie a room’s visual aesthetic together. Great art possesses an emotional quality, and knowing what types of art best match the emotional purpose of a room can make the art selection process much easier. 

For example, recent studies suggest that aging adults benefit greatly from being surrounded by paintings or images of nature – a fact that guided the Concepts in Art team for a recent project at a senior living community. 

As humans age, they naturally lose their ability to participate in activities that once brought them joy – most of which involve some aspect of connecting with the physical world around them. Late-life depression affects about 6 million adults over 65 as losing the physical ability to independently participate in activities, like mowing the lawn, swimming, or even just going for a walk, can be a very isolating and upsetting experience.

The root cause of those upsetting feelings can be attributed to biophilia. Biophilia is the concept that all humans have an innate desire to connect with nature and the living world around them; it’s why taking a walk outside after a stressful day of work or opening a window during a rainstorm makes us feel better than before. As humans, we have a natural desire to connect with nature, and as we age we lose our ability to act on that desire. 

However, there is a way for familial and professional caretakers to tend to the biophilic needs of older adults. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to imagery of nature can have a number of profound physiological and psychological benefits – especially for elderly individuals grappling with age-related ailments or cognitive decline. 

First, serene depictions of a beautiful garden or powerful waterfall evoke a grounding feeling of calmness. In a phase of life where there is so much change and movement, nature-inspired artworks can create an air of tranquility by rooting the individual in a calming environment. Scenes of nature can also enhance cognitive function and memory retention in elderly individuals as intricate details  stimulate the mind, fostering neural connections and cognitive engagement. For elderly individuals grappling with memory loss or cognitive decline, engaging with this kind of art can assist in the preservation of cognitive function and mental acuity.

Beyond its physiological and psychological benefits, this kind of art can foster a sense of connection and belonging among elderly individuals. Reminiscing about past outdoor adventures serves as a catalyst for meaningful social interactions and shared experiences. In retirement communities and assisted living facilities, nature-inspired artwork often becomes a focal point for communal gatherings and storytelling sessions, fostering a sense of camaraderie and belonging that is often lost as we age. 

For elderly individuals who may have limited mobility or opportunities to explore the outdoors, nature art serves as a means of connecting with the natural world – something humans long for naturally. Certain types of art – like images of landscapes, wildlife, and plants – can contribute greatly to the overall purpose of any given space and knowing which types of art can evoke certain emotional responses can be a great tool in choosing the best piece for your space. 

In today’s world, where empowerment and equality are at the forefront of societal conversations, supporting women-owned businesses is not just a gesture of goodwill; it’s a crucial step towards fostering economic growth, driving innovation, and promoting gender equality. Concepts in Art is fiercely proud to be a women-owned business as women entrepreneurs face unique challenges in the business world, from access to funding and resources to biases and stereotypes. By actively supporting these businesses, we can break down barriers and create a more inclusive economy. On the last day of Women’s History Month, we’re breaking down why it matters and how you can contribute:

  • Backing women-owned businesses fuels economic growth and prosperity. 

Studies have shown that women reinvest a significant portion of their earnings back into their families and communities. By supporting these businesses, we’re not just empowering individual entrepreneurs but uplifting entire communities. The ripple effect of economic empowerment can lead to improved education, healthcare, and overall quality of life.

  • Women bring a fresh perspective and innovative solutions to the table. 

Diversity in entrepreneurship fosters creativity and problem-solving, leading to more robust and sustainable businesses. By supporting women-owned businesses, we’re promoting diversity in thought and driving innovation across various industries.

  • Empowering women economically is a catalyst for gender equality. 

When women have the resources and opportunities to succeed in business, it challenges traditional gender roles and stereotypes. It sends a powerful message that women are capable leaders and contributors to the economy. By supporting women-owned businesses, we’re not just leveling the playing field; we’re reshaping societal norms and expectations.

So, how can you contribute to this movement?

Buy from Women-Owned Businesses: Be intentional about where you spend your money. Seek out women-owned businesses in your community or online and make a conscious effort to support them.

Promote and Amplify: Use your platform and voice to amplify women-owned businesses. Share their products and services on social media, write reviews, and recommend them to your network.

Invest in Women Entrepreneurs: If you have the means, consider investing in women-owned startups or businesses. By providing financial support, you’re not only helping them grow but also diversifying your investment portfolio.

Mentorship and Networking: Offer mentorship and networking opportunities to women entrepreneurs. Share your knowledge and experiences to help them navigate the business world more effectively.

Supporting women-owned businesses like ours is not just a moral imperative; it’s an investment in a more prosperous, innovative, and equitable future. By actively championing women entrepreneurs, we can create lasting change and build a more inclusive economy for all.

How hard can hanging art really be? 

Actually, it’s pretty technical. 

Properly installed art requires a tad more than a few nails, a hammer, and a “Looks even to me!”. For those brave DIY souls bypassing the expertise of a professional art installation service, Concepts in Art Owner Jenny Gaffney outlined her top tips for hanging art like a pro. 

  1. Make sure the center of your picture is at eye level. 

The last time you went to an art museum did you have to strain to see the art, or was it laid out in a comfortable location your eyes could easily access?

The most common mistake people can make when choosing to hang their own art is that they pick a position that is far too high up on the wall. Hanging art too high makes for an awkward location beyond a person’s natural gaze and interrupts the room’s overall aesthetic. Positioning your wall art at eye level generally means the midpoint of the picture is approximately 60 inches from the floor

Bringing the art to eye level makes the art much easier to appreciate and gives the room a sense of cohesion by eliminating any awkward wall space from the floor to the art. So break out that measuring tape – it’s worth it!

  1. You’ll have to become a bit of a mathematician. 

It’s often underestimated how much math is involved in hanging art, but it’s true that measuring tape isn’t the only piece of equipment you’ll need. A calculator is a must to achieve proper sizing and spacing. 

Depending on how many pieces of art you’re planning to hang, and the sizes of those pieces and any furniture located underneath the art, there are a LOT of ratios to take into consideration when hanging a piece of art in any area – especially a high-traffic one. You want people to focus on the gorgeous art you have hanging, not that it’s a little too big (or small) for where it’s hung. 

It can be overwhelming, but it all comes down to the details. Taking the time to figure out the math will pay off in the long run to ensure your picture is hung correctly!

  1. Make sure your picture is level!

This seems intuitive (especially if you’re taking the time to do all of the other calculations), but it’s not surprising to see people skip this step. After spending so much time and effort determining everything else, it’s not uncommon for folks to just eyeball the orientation of the art for the sake of ending the process. 

It’s true that people don’t notice things done right, but always notice something that’s a little off; nobody notices art that’s level, but everyone will notice something that’s crooked. While we’re sure your friend has excellent eyesight, your smartphone has a level app that will work even better – we promise! 

Remember, art is an investment that you want people to appreciate when they step into your space. While the process is highly technical (and a real patience tester), the end result – beautifully hung art that ties the room’s aesthetic together  – is always worth it. Whether you’re taking the process on yourself or employing the help of a professional service like Concepts in Art, these guidelines are the foundation of a properly executed installation that should be present in every room. 

2024: Our 46th year in business and fourth under the leadership of Concepts in Art’s Owner and Art Consultant, Jenny Gaffney. With the new year in full swing, we figured it was time to reintroduce our fearless leader at the heart of all the action.

Keep reading to get to know more about the #1 enemy of boring workspaces and blank white walls!

When did you know art consulting was your calling?

I knew as soon as I shadowed the previous owner that this was what I was meant to do. Everything about the process – from working directly with artists to executing the installation – was appealing to me since it combined my two favorite things: art and making new relationships!

What is your #1 piece of advice/rule when it comes to choosing, designing, or installing art? 

I would say the #1 most important thing is to ensure the piece(s) that you’ve chosen is a truly interesting, but efficient, use of the space you have available. Before I even begin to start sourcing the art or deciding on a color palette, there is a lot of meticulous measuring that needs to be done to determine what size work of art will best suit the space – without being overpowering or distracting. 

Along the same line, I always like to walk through clients’ spaces beforehand since it helps me get a sense for the room and its finishes (floor color, natural light, furniture, etc). That’s one of the most common things to overlook as people normally just focus on wall color. 

Do you have a favorite medium?

Definitely acrylic – I just love the texture! Even the simplest piece of acrylic art naturally brings so much character and personality to a space just because of its texture. 

What is your favorite part of the consulting process? 

The grand reveal is my favorite part because the relationships I’ve made with my clients always makes it that much sweeter!

One of the things that makes us different is that we execute every part of the process – from planning the space to sourcing the art to installing it – so we get to see our clients and their employees’ full reactions to the finished project. We are very lucky to work with some truly amazing businesses, so their reactions mean everything to me. It’s absolutely the best part of my job. 

What are you most excited for in 2024?

Well, I’m obviously excited for all of the amazing new projects that are to come! But I am really looking forward to connecting with all of the inspiring women in the Southeast WI area at TEMPO Emerging Women Leaders (EWL) meetings and events. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to connect and learn from such dynamic business women, and I can’t wait to get started.

Outside of my professional life, I am super excited for a couple of bucket list trips I have planned – especially a trip to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day.

The holidays are officially upon us, and no matter how satisfying the end result is, the idea of lugging boxes out from storage to set out loads of tiny holiday decorations is enough to make the jolliest elf groan. 

Luckily, creating a warm and cozy holiday vibe can go beyond setting up trees and tabletop trinkets that, while beautiful, take up valuable office space and hundreds of twinkly lights that, while twinkly, tend to tangle and test your patience. This year, look into upgrading your holiday decorating by taking advantage of empty wall space that’s begging to get onto Santa’s nice list. 

Deck the Halls (and the Walls)

With the spirit of gathering in the air, many tend to focus their holiday decorating efforts on the focal points of their space: for a hotel – the lobby, for an office – the waiting room, for a home – the living room. This year, transform your space into a true beacon of holiday cheer by sprucing up oft-overlooked spaces like hallways, bathrooms, and guest rooms. 

These areas are often left barren because of logistics; there just isn’t much space to set-up the traditional holiday decorations we typically think of, like small Christmas trees, tabletop trinkets like nativity scenes, or garland. However, every room has wall space – and taking advantage of a few blank walls can really make a difference in the overall feel of your space. 

Consider investing in a beautiful framed picture of a winter scene to hang in a barren hallway, or stick-n-peel art to smooth over large glass offices. And, if you’re wondering why you should even bother decorating for the holidays, check out last year’s blog on all the benefits you would be missing out on!

Ho-Ho-Holiday Color Palettes

You don’t want to lose your company’s identity or sense of professionality in a swamp of tabletop ornaments and mismatched decorations. It may be worthwhile to identify one common theme before purchasing any additional holiday decor to ensure a sense of cohesiveness and intentionality; one of the best ways to do this is through the colors expressed in your wall art. The good news is there are a variety of holiday color palettes to explore no matter what your style is. We’ve curated a few of our favorites below:

The holidays mean different things for everyone, so one major key to effective holiday decorating is ensuring the environment you’re creating is one that every potential customer, employee, or passerby can appreciate. Consider skipping the giant portrait of Santa Claus for an oil painting of poinsettia or a serene snowscape. Additionally, the holiday season goes beyond December 25, so there’s even more of an incentive to invest in pieces that have a bit of a timeless factor – and can buy you some time if you’re not wanting to break the bubble wrap and storage boxes back out on December 26.

At the end of the day, any holiday decorations are better than no holiday decorations. But if you’re looking to explore what festive wall art can look like for your business, give us a call to discuss what options could be available for your space!

With the current focus on sustainability, Earth Day is a great way to show our focus and how we support the environment. Here is how we all can Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to support sustainable art practices! 

Sustainable art practices start with us!
  1. Reduce: Buy and use local art for your space 

One of the easiest ways to effectively reduce your carbon footprint when buying art, is to buy from local artists! By doing so, the art travels less distance, which decreases the carbon footprint that the art has on it.  It is also one of the best ways to support the art community, and a great way to show your support for your community of local artists as well. Another great thing about buying from local artists is that you may even be able to find an artist that uses sustainable art practices. This may look like earth friendly paint, mediums and display pieces, sculptures made with earth friendly materials and more. Concepts In Art supports sustainability and the focus on being green by using sustainable wall coverings and other materials in their projects!

  1. Reuse old art whenever you can 

Another great way to work on practicing sustainable art is to try and reuse current art that you already have in your space. Concepts In Art loves to work with current pieces, and if desired, will find ways to reuse the art that is already in your space. A new frame, or an area re-design can sometimes go a long way. By reusing what you already have, you’re not only saving on cost, but on material waste as well. Concepts In Art is proud to offer free consultations to those that are looking to update their spaces. When claiming your free consultation, make sure to ask about art reuse to see what we may be able to offer!

  1. Know how to properly Recycle old frames and canvases when needed 

Lastly, it’s important to try and recycle whatever you can when making the decision to redesign your space. When it comes to things like frames, prints, canvases and more, make sure to look up your local recycling restrictions and applications before tossing things out.. If your art is still intact and you’ve made the decision to not use it, consider donating it to a charity like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul’s, or other local donation centers. One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure! Concepts In Art is proud to donate a company’s old or unused art when updating spaces! 

Overall, there are many ways that we all can incorporate sustainable art practices into our space. Let’s work together to create an impact and make the earth a green environment!

For more information and to set up your free consultation with us, visit www.conceptsinart.net!  

How to Keep Your Framed Art Looking Loved

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we want to share some of our top tips on how to keep your framed art looking loved! Doing things such as cleaning your frame’s glass or acrylic, and cleaning the frame itself can make a huge difference in the look, and longevity of your art. 

Before reading the tips we have listed below, it’s important to know if your frames have a glass or acrylic finish, as it will alter the best approach to clean and care for them. If you’re unsure what finish your frames have, it’s best to stick to the tips below, as these care tips are safe for both glass and acrylic finishes. 

An example of framed art that we installed this fall!

Here are some tips we have on how to keep your framed art looking loved this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Avoid using water, wood polish and glass cleaner on your wood frames. 

It may seem silly to illuminate water from this list, there are a few reasons why we suggest avoiding these types of cleaners on your wood frames. The main reason for this is to avoid moisture getting into the frame, which over time can cause mold growth. Wood both expands and contracts over time and with season change, meaning that if you use a cleaner or even water to clean your frame, it can get trapped in the frame and cause future damage. 

  1. Don’t use household glass cleaners on your frames glass.

Although the cleaner may say that it is safe for glass, and may even be a glass cleaner, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to use on your frame! Window glass and art glass often have different finishes, meaning that some of the chemicals in your everyday household glass cleaner could actually cause damage to the glass’s finish. This would look like fogginess in the glass, and even minor scratches and unevenness in the finish. If you are in need of a frame cleaner, we suggest looking up what cleaners they have for your glasses to be sure that it won’t harm it. 

  1. Use a cotton ball to wipe down the corners of your frame to avoid build-up. 

One of the most missed places when cleaning a frame is the corners! Over time, there can be a lot of build up in these areas of a frame, which if not addressed, can lead to mold or grime build up. The best way to avoid this is to take a cotton ball when cleaning your frame, and make sure to focus on the corners! 

  1. Only use a microfiber cloth to lightly dust your frames. 

Another key thing to note when it comes to cleaning your frames, is to only use microfiber towels. Using regular cotton towels can be too harsh on your frames, especially the glass, and can lead to micro scratches. Although the scratches would be small, they can still be noticeable and can cause further damage over time if not addressed. The best way to avoid this situation all together, is to use microfiber towels for cleaning your frames. 

  1. Make sure to keep an eye on the condition of your frames, and repair them if they need to be repaired! 

Lastly, it is very important to keep an eye on the condition of your frames, and repair them if needed! If you notice that your frame is looking like it needs some extra loe, make sure to contact your framer, or Concepts In Art to get it back to its fullest potential. 

Remember to reach out to our team with any of your art needs, and to love your art this Valentine’s Day!

The holiday season is officially among us! Although it may seem a little silly, bringing that holiday cheer into the office and in your home is one of the many ways to help employees and visitors feel welcome. Just like art, decorations are a way to express emotion and set the mood for a room or environment. 

Here are a few ideas on how the magic of holiday decorations, like Art, can bring out the happy and joyful emotions in your workplace and home: 

  1. Colors are associated with different emotions.  

When you look at specific colors, your brain automatically associates it with an emotion. This same concept goes for color schemes as well, such as the example to the right. Around the holidays, colors such as green and red, and blue and white are paired to bring in a feeling of nostalgia. Often with this feeling, people are more likely to experience calmness and happy emotions! By using these colors in your space during the holiday season, chances are, your space will feel more cheerful and those around you will feel welcome and included.

  1. Holiday decorations are proven to increase dopamine levels!  

Did you know that people who put up their Christmas decorations early tend to be happier and enjoy the season?  Scientists, such as the ones at Texas A&M have proven that decorating for the holidays, or even looking at holiday decorations, increase the dopamine (a feel-good hormone) levels in our brains. This often correlates into a rewarding feeling, which can inadvertently lead to increased production around your space! It’s crazy to think that the simple addition of themed art such as holiday decorations can create a space that makes employees and visitors feel happier and more productive!

 

  1. Lastly, remember that holiday decorations are an art themselves! 

When you choose to decorate your space, it’s important to find decorations that set the mood you want! When working with art, you are constantly thinking about placement, how it relates to the area it’s within, and how you want it to look over a period of time. These same ideas should be applied to your holiday decorations as well! Treating your holiday decorations like they’re art will change your entire mindset, and help you make sure that you achieve the Holiday Spirit you are looking for! 

Overall, decorating for the holiday season is one of the best ways to bring the holiday cheer into your space. At Concepts In Art, It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we are sending wishes of warmth, joy and tranquility this holiday season!! 

Research source: 

Author— Kelly Sopchak. “POV: Does Decorating for the Holidays Early Improve Mental Health?” Vital Record, Texas A&M University , 20 Nov. 2020, 

Working with a small business has many benefits like flexibility, expertise, and satisfaction. When you put all those components together, it creates an overall personalized experience that is unique and special to each client.

At Concepts In Art, we value the personal relationship that we get to build with our clients. That’s why we wanted to give you the chance to get to know our Owner, Jenny Gaffney!

Are you a Wisconsin native? If not, what led you to move to Wisconsin?

Yes, I was born and raised in Wisconsin and will be a lifelong Packer fan!

What industry did you work in before entering the art industry?

I started my career working for a small frame shop focusing on my customer service skills. From there I worked for a couple manufacturing companies, but realized I had a passion for being creative, and missed that part of my career. I then found an opportunity with a large retail company where I was able to take on various customer experience tasks, including my favorite, remodeling store fronts and local offices. And that led me to where I am today!

What is your favorite art medium? Why?

I would say Acrylic. I like the rich color you get from this medium, as well as the different depths that it can create, varying from transparent to chunky.

Being a female, small business owner; what advice do you have for other women out there that want to potentially own their own business one day?

Don’t sell yourself short! Life is a journey and each step I had taken in my past careers made me stronger, and offered growth, helping me to get where I am today. It doesn’t all come fast or when you want it, but working towards your goal over time, and taking it step-by-step has helped me to be a successful female, small business owner! So always keep your end goal in mind!

What makes you want to get out of bed and run Concepts In Art?

A combination of loving what I do every day, having a passion for art, and wanting to help bring out the joy and excitement from employees, clients and businesses, that wouldn’t be there without art!

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I love summer, so basically anything you can do outside in the summer! Some of my favorite activities are boating, golfing, camping, and relaxing on the beach. But, regardless of the season, spending time and making memories with friends, family, and traveling are my favorite!

Building an emotional connection in the workplace with Art

As we transition employees back into the workplace some things to consider are re-connecting our employees with office culture, reconfiguration of the space to allow for more distancing and inviting customers back into our buildings.

For the staff who has spent the better part of the past year working remotely returning to the office routine may feel uneasy or unsettling. Obviously, you want everyone to feel welcome and safe upon returning but this transition represents a change for both you and them.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself are:

  • How do I motivate employees to want to come back?
  • How do I make them feel comfortable and safe?
  • How can I re-connect or improve the workplace culture?

For our customers, this represents an opportunity to re-connect with the brand in person and solidify the relationship visually. In either scenario, art is an easy way for you to completely re-connect people with your culture and your brand. Art is a non-verbal way to inspire and motivate people.

Some considerations are:

  • Nature / Landscape Art – reduce stress and can help boost productivity.
  • Vibrant / Bold Abstract Art – increases positive mood, broadens attention and allow us to see more possible solutions to creative problems.
  • Office Branded Art – fosters the pride you take in your company and your office, which trickles down to your employees and your customers. Office art creates a workplace that your employees are proud to walk into every day.

For those continuing with a more flexible work environment finding fun ways to incorporate artwork for your work-from-home employees can help them feel more connected and promote teamwork even when they aren’t physically there.

No matter what direction your company decides to go, visually creating a space that showcases your culture and boosts your brand is important and can help to create long-term success.