A Corporate Patron of the Arts – Why Not?!

YellowInstallAnother RAM adventure brought me downtown to view an uptown artist’s art collection – not in his studio nor in a traditional gallery. I can’t recall ever having jumped off the 4/5 Train on Wall Street to go look at an art collection, in particular a solo show of a Harlem based artist – let alone be impressed with how it was so thoughtfully curated. It seemed to fit right in.

When I arrived at the office of Sciame at 14 Wall Street, a Construction Management/Consultant/Builder company I was greeted by Derek Fordjour who explained that he works in a variety of mediums. He toured me through the space beginning in the reception area, through the foyer and the hallways, ending in a large conference room filled with amazing sculptures, each on an individual stand. 

Fordjour Exhibit at Sciame's Office: "Fearless Foursome"

Fordjour Exhibit at Sciame’s Office: “Fearless Foursome”

I was tickled by how perfect this concept fit in with their corporate motto, “Where Building is Art” and mine, “Real Art Muse”. The firm is known for being the builder-of-choice for highly designed and technically sophisticated projects. They have done work for the likes of, Museum of Arts and Design, Donald Judd MuseumThe Morgan Library & Museum and the Guggenheim renovation, to name just a few. I recommend you checkout their website.  I guarantee you too will be impressed with their high level of work and diverse client roster.

Speaking of impressive — Joseph Mizzi, the President of Sciame is this super-relaxed nice guy, a contemporary art collector, and the driving force behind the use of Sciame’s downtown headquarters as an art gallery space – or what I prefer to call an “art experience” – a well-curated corporate gallery, seamlessly executed into their Corporate HQ.

"Suspended" by Derek Fordjour

“Suspended” by Derek Fordjour

What additionally is unique is how one artist, Derek Fordjour curated and displayed all of his own artwork and then was allowed to sell his work (without a middle man) or having to give any remuneration to his hosts. As Joe said, “over 100 employees and clients get to enjoy the works first hand…” and they are all potential collectors.Besides construction and art – Joseph has a need to help others far away from Wall Street.  He co-founded the

14+ Foundation with Nchimunya Wulf in 2012 to develop education programs and build schools and orphanages in Zambia, African. He is affiliated with several other local charitable organizations and on the board of the Museum of African Arts, NYC and the Bronx Museum.

I told Derek he was a lucky fella – at least lucky enough to meet Joe through his fellow artist friend, Duhirwe Rushemeza,  who’s work Joe has collected.
Joe spoke of Duhirwe’s work with me, as did Derek during the art tour at the Sciame corporate space. This showed me the mutual respect they had for each another. It was their collaboration and Joe’s commitment to turn his offices into a lively space for Sciame’s employees and clients, which made it feel most authentic. Joe made clear his commitment to making his office available to working artists.


Joseph Mizzi in front of his "Hot Dog w/ Glitter Mustard"

Joseph Mizzi in front of his “Hot Dog w/ Glitter Mustard”

The exhibit was not like other staid corporate art collections I have seen in offices, whose walls are often adorned with art by more well known artists – some like to call it “blue chip” vs. “emerging” artists.  At Sciame, there is a living and breathing relationship based on similar interests to support living artists.

Joe responded to Derek’s work, which is why this worked. I can understand this after meeting Derek, who is not   only bright and enthusiastic, but whose talent can successfully cross mediums.
When I asked Joe why he did this, he described it as, “a fun and really great way for me to creatively connect and share art with my employees, clients and the community.”

This approach is a business model well worth expanding on and further formalizing in other NYC offices. NYC is super competitive, which is why companies need to differentiate themselves. Art in corporate spaces is a creative concept that fosters goodwill and makes lasting connections.I have been musing about this art concept with my real estate clients, the artist community and art collectors – all of which are excited to see this idea flourish.

RAM w/ Derek and "Cheerleader" (mixed media)

RAM w/ Derek and “Cheerleader” (mixed media)

Comments 3

  1. A fantastic read! I love the idea of using office space as art galleries — especially in an unexpected area such as Wall Street. I hope more offices around manhattan begin utilizing their bland and empty spaces to showcase art that needs to be seen.

  2. Pingback: From the Meat Packing District to Mexico: Investing in a Sustainable | Real Art Muse

    1. Post

      Yes I invited Joe as I introduced him to Dr Braverman
      Joe also has a good cause and they have a benefit coming up in October
      Maybe we can meet there or work on a collaborative post…
      Who do you write for?

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