skip to Main Content
This icon serves as a link to download the eSSENTIAL Accessibility assistive technology app for individuals with physical disabilities. It is featured as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Guidelines for working with an artist or performer

In contacting an artist listed in the Artscape Directory, you agree to the following guidelines:

  • Any commercial activities including sales, rentals, or employment opportunities that arise directly through accessing this Directory will be compensated to the artist in line with industry standard rates. For more information please see the industry rate guidelines (link) outlined by Canadian Artists Association Le Front des Artistes Canadiens (CARFAC).
  • Clients will deal directly with the artist or their representative, gallery or agent as indicated in their listing.
  • Clients will adhere to conservation best practices to the best of their ability when displaying and storing art pieces obtained through a loan agreement.

Tips for art protection and preservation

Congratulations! you’ve purchased a work of art! Help  preserve it as long as possible with this guide.

Protecting art is relatively easy and will help preserve your investment. While this guide is not exhaustive, it will provide an understanding of the basics. This guide is based on conservation best practices and outlines simple measures that can be taken to ensure the life of a given piece.

This guide is advisory in nature, no liability is assumed by reason of the information in this document.

  • In general, keep paintings, photography, textiles, prints and other works on paper out of direct, unfiltered sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation can severely and irreparably damage works of art. Indoor light sources can also emit UV radiation, fluorescent lights are the worst for this, but bulbs that are “encapsulated” or “double envelope” provide near-perfect protection. In general, and in cases where you do not have the capacity to alter the choice of lighting, shut off lights in the room art is stored in when it is not in use, with curtains or shades drawn closed.
  • Never hang art over a fireplace or heat source as ash, soot and heat can damage it. As heat rises, it brings dust and dirt with it, so hanging art above any heat source is not recommended.
  • Do not store fine art or textiles in basements or attics. These parts of the home are susceptible to dramatic temperature changes, damp, flooding and leaks. If possible, create an “art closet,” with horizontal racks and a locked door. Wrap all fine items in archival materials, and store framed artwork face to back, in a vertical position.
  • Hire a professional and recommended art hanger. Objects must be hung correctly to ensure support and reduce the chance of falling. A professional art hanger is more likely to use the proper hardware and structural supports than a general contractor.
  • Keep the location of artwork at a constant temperature of approximately 75°F and 55% relative humidity. Excess humidity may lead to the development of bacteria or mold which leads to discolouration. If the storage space is too dry microbes may not develop but insects may nest in your art pieces, which can also lead to staining. Best practice is to continue to inspect the artwork and its frame for signs of mold or insects.
  • Frame all two-dimensional art, especially paper, textiles and photographs using “museum quality” materials. Shatter-resistant fronts can shield damaging UV rays and other exposures, while corrugated polypropylene backings protect against water-absorption. Ensure that all framing materials are acid-free to prevent acid migration from damaging the work. Consult a museum-quality framer or conservator for specific advice about framing different mediums.
  • Install water alert sensors in areas where art is stored that may be susceptible to water damage. These areas include above ceiling trays, underneath washers and dryers and radiators. Is there is no choice but to store art in close proximity to water sources, it is better to create early-warning systems if something should go wrong. In areas where flooding is a problem, store work well above the water line.

For more tips on the care and preservation of art objects ranging from paintings, wood objects, sculpture and textiles, please visit this guide created by Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI), the centre for specialized technical collection research and conservation for all Smithsonian museums and collections.

Back To Top