By Justin Bazan, OD
Displaying the work of artists in your community creates a unique office environment and brings new patients into your office.
BE CREATIVE IN USE OF SPACE. Use your dispensary as a gallery for local art, or even as a pop-up shop for a local artist.
CONNECT WITH LOCAL ARTISTS. Meet artists in your community. If you like their work, offer them a chance to display a work of art or more in your office.
PROMOTE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Post photos of art displayed in your office onFacebook and other social media to show off your creative office space.
We noticed that weekends in July and August were slow times for our practice, so we decided to shut down our operations during those two months and instead lend the office out to a local artist to serve as a temporary pop-up shop for his line of products. During the week, a small selection of his products remain in our dispensary, creating a unique office environment. The avant-garde work typifies the hip, artsy Brooklyn, NY, neighborhood where my practice is located. We loaned our space free-of-charge because the artist is a friend, and because doing it was a great way to reach out to our community.
Dr. Bazan in his optical dispensary holding a portrait of himself by the artist Voodo Fe. Dr. Bazan says featuring local artists, including operating a pop-up store of artists’ goods in his dispensary, keeps his office environment new and interesting.
Do You Have Slow Times When You’re Just Breaking Even?
Looking at our financial numbers and our staff’s desires, it became apparent that during weekends in July and August, the cost of operating our office and seeing patients did not generate substantial profit. We were just breaking even, so it made more sense to find another use for our office space.
My office is located in a family-intense part of Brooklyn where kids are often away at summer camp during the middle of the summer and families are on vacation. I have made friends with local artists through my practice and by networking with local businesses, so I decided that featuring the artwork of the artist Voodo Fe in my optical would be a good idea.
We would be doing him a favor by giving him a place to feature and sell his work, and he would be helping us by bringing new people in our office who could potentially become patients and spread the word about our practice.
Take Advantage of Opportunities to Connect With Local Artists
A few years ago, I was sitting in a local restaurant admiring the art on the wall. A friend, who was at lunch with me, mentioned that the artist happened to be the boyfriend of one of our friends. I reached out to him via Facebook and told him I admired his work. From there a relationship developed in which we would from time to time display his work on our walls.
The optical dispensary in Dr. Bazin’s office in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York City. Dr. Bazan says he would rather feature original artwork on the wall, such as these paintings by artistVoodo Fe, than point-of-sale materials.
At the beginning of the summer of 2014, Voodo approached us and asked if we would be interested in taking our display of his art one step further and featuring not only his art on our walls, but products he created for sale in our dispensary alongside eyewear.
This merchandise includes t-shirts, sneakers and lunch boxes, among other items. Our staff sells Voodo’s products to interested patients and then gives Voodo 100 percent of the money generated from the sales. There is no expense to my staff or our office except for the minute or two it takes to do the sales transaction.
I also have met artists in my exam chair. I ask every patient what they do for a living (or avocation) and what their hobbies are. When a patient tells me they are an artist, I pull up their web site, and if the artist’s work is appropriate for our office (nothing that would offend a parent with a young child in tow), I might talk to the artist about featuring his or her work in our dispensary. I might even offer to throw the artist an exhibition event in our office in which we loan out our office for the night and give the artist $100 to spend on refreshments and other supplies.
Sneakers featuring a design by the Brooklyn, NY-based artist Voodo Fe on display in Dr. Bazan’s optical.
Create a Unique Vibe
We never display point-of-sale posters or materials in our office, and don’t leave our walls blank, because we like to have an office environment that generates interest.
Patients often comment on how “cool” the art on our walls is, and over the summer, how cool Voodo’s products were. Having locally created art in our office gives us a more hip, fashionable vibe than we would have with white, POP-laden walls. Featuring the creations of local artists also shows patients we are invested in the local community–an important value in Brooklyn–and that we support other small businesses.
Promote Exhibits and Pop-Up Stores on Social Media
We feature pictures on our practice Facebook page of any artist we are featuring in our dispensary. In doing so, we can promote our own products which are often seen alongside or in the background or just in front of the artwork. For example, we posted a picture over the summer of me in the dispensary holding Voodoo’s portrait of me.
Rotate Art Displayed
We have about eight artists, including my own mother, who have displayed art in our dispensary. Of those eight, we probably will bring back four in the coming months and years. Changing out the art featured in the office keeps the environment stimulating to patients.
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