By Brian Chou, OD, FAAO
Exhibiting the work of local artists can forge ties to your community–and signal to patients that your eyewear offerings are creative and unique, as well.
This summer I had the opportunity to enhance my practice’s visual appeal by featuring LightSculptures–a collection of unique light fixtures–created by local but internationally recognized artists. The pieces, by Oceanside, Calif.-based William Leslie and his wife, Alessandra Colfi, have been featured in art galleries, HGTV and various architectural magazines.
I was returning through San Diego International Airport last January and saw the LightSculptures on display. I loved them and thought that it would be neat to have them featured in my practice since we have the space and décor to complement the artwork. I got in touch with Leslie and Colfi and proposed that their art display in our eyewear showroom. The benefit to them is sharing their artwork in a setting with good visibility and foot traffic. I did not know the artists prior to that, but have become good friends with them since then.
Low Cost/High Gain in Enhanced Patient Experience
There was cost for electrical revisions, transport and installation, but minimal overall–less than $1,000. Installation took about a day. The exhibit was installed at the end of July and will be on display at least through early this year. The artists are hoping to have these pieces display next in a high profile location like SFO or LAX airport.
Take Advantage of Spacious Optical Shop
If you happen to have an optical shop or reception area that is spacious, you can take advantage of it by featuring art work such as the LightSculptures we installed, or, if you are in a smaller space, you could feature the work of local painters on your walls. The LightSculptures are displayed in an area of our practice that’s nearly 2,000 square feet, spanning our eyewear showroom and reception area. Our ceilings there are 11 feet tall, so the space is open and airy. We have a total of nine pieces on display.
Think Creatively and Show Patients a Unique Brand
The purpose of our exhibit is not to generate revenue, per se. Rather it’s a “think outside the box” endeavor which reflects our practice’s independence and creativity. We are fortunate to have the location and facility to pull off something like this. It underscores how we curate distinctive eyewear that’s individual and artistic, not the “me-too” eyewear they’ll find at the chains and warehouses. The LightSculptures form an amazing backdrop enhancing the overall visual experience, not only for our patients, but creating a soothing environment for our staff. In combination with our high technology instruments, I think of my practice as the intersection of visual art and science.
Optimize Freedom of Independent Practice
In an independent private practice, you have the freedom to innovate without the constraints of corporate policy. Look for mutually beneficial partnerships that can either differentiate your practice and bolster your stature as the preferred destination for products and services or drive new revenue.
A nice example of cross pollination in my area is a restaurant called Vintana, which opened on the top floor above a Lexus dealership. Diners must go through the Lexus showroom to get to the restaurant. So there is exposure of the diners to the luxury car dealership, and vice versa. I’d like to think what we’ve done with the art display is analogous to the Lexus dealership and Vintana. Pulling something like this off requires initiative to approach potential partners and offering them a compelling reason to say “yes.”
Strengthen Ties to Community
Our exhibit underscores our support for individualized and differentiated services and products. We have well-educated patients who come into our office because they eschew the corporate juggernauts and recognize that we have a genuine, personalized approach, yet at a surprisingly reasonable cost. The artwork reinforces our stature in the community as a local anchor.
Art Reminds Patients of Enjoyment of Sharp Vision
The patient response has been overwhelmingly positive. Comments that I frequently hear include, “cool,” “really nice” and “beautiful.” It is a visual delight and certainly enhances the visit by creating a special experience which reminds why vision is so important for enjoying life. Kids and adults, alike, marvel at the changing colors of the LED lights within the soothing form of each LightSculpture.
Publicize Art Featured in Your Office
Two publications which distribute in our surrounding community, Back in the Ranch and 92127 Magazine, ran articles about our exhibit. We also sent out e-mails to our patient database announcing the exhibit. We don’t plan to do any special sales such as trunk shows specifically related to this art display, although that is an idea I think some owners in our situation would consider.
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