• Art Experiences for the Smart Planner

     
    POSTED July 25, 2019
     

    A New York tour company combines the art and corporate worlds.

If you’re wondering what art collections and corporate meetings have to do with each other, ART SMART will show you. A tour company with art as its driving force for change, ART SMART offers private art experiences for corporate meetings and events groups. Tours are led by experts in the art world. Based in New York City, the company has myriad museums of contrasting art genres at its fingertips, with customization being a main benefit for planners and meeting professionals. “I founded ART SMART in 2001 while working at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and realized that tours can be radically different when one focuses on the specific audience and their unique interests,” says Judith Walsh, CEO and founder of ART SMART.

Aside from corporate tours, ART SMART also coordinates events centered on team-building or networking. “People are surprised by the level to which we can customize,” says Walsh. “All of our experts are art historians, so the customization process is multistep. We ask the client about the purpose of the event and think about what unites all the people who are coming on it. For example, we customize tours to networking groups so there’s lots of conversation and interaction between people.” Another feature available to groups is the selection of custom art and meeting venues by ART SMART’s experts.

Tours accommodate up to 20 members but may include as many as 60 members depending on the type of group. Corporate tours are offered in New York City as well as Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

When asked what groups take away from ART SMART’s tours, Walsh cites inspiration as a key take-away. “I think that a lot of [groups] take away inspiration across the board, no matter what their focus is. Surprise and inspiration are key in what we design.”

In 2020, Houston First Corp. (HFC) reported that the city was slated to host 252 meetings and 611,000 room nights. By March 14, the Bayou City had already hosted 115 conventions and 137,400 room nights. Then the pandemic hit, and meetings and events across the country came to a screeching halt.

We asked Michael Heckman, acting president and CEO of Houston First Corp. (HFC) how the health crisis has influenced the organization’s business model moving forward.

 

Chances are, you won’t know you’re living through history until it’s too late. It’s already happening. A chain reaction has been set in motion and the ground has begun to slide beneath your feet.

This past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. As a global pandemic sent the world reeling, planners were left grasping for footholds as the event industry was brought to a standstill, and many of the most fundamental elements of live meetings and events were cast in a new light.

 

Great lighting is key. Smart décor is a must. But the mood of any gala, auction or awards ceremony lies largely on the shoulders of its master of ceremonies. Who you choose to represent your cause or organization on stage can be the difference between an event that is “ho-hum” or “electrifying.”

Texas Meetings + Events reached out to three of Texas’s favorite emcees. They shared with us how they got where they are—and what they’re doing now—along with some sage advice.