I met Clare in her bright office in the centre of Glasgow to talk about her own business working to promote Glasgow’s museuems, art galleries and heritage properties.
” I work with organisations to bring in corporate business. For example we’ll organise a ‘night at the museum’ guided tour or evenings at the Burrell Collection.”
I asked Clare how she got started.
“I began my career with Price Waterhouse Coopers and, while there, was studying for an Arts degree with the Open University and working as a volunteer guide at Kelvingrove.”
“I came to realise that I wanted to work in the arts and when I was made redundant from PWC I took a job as an administrator at the museum. I worked my way up within the organisation and finished my degree. I was doing some freelance curating of exhibitions and rather than sit my final curators exam I decided to leave and set up my own business. The museums thought that they were set up to work with corporate organisations, but they really weren’t. They hadn’t the experience to know just the level and quality of service was required to host corporate events.”
“Since I’d worked in the corporate sector I know exactly what was needed and I saw that I could create a business at the interface between companies and the museums.”
So, how does it work?
“Work is often focussed round new exhibitions. For example the recent Glasgow Boys exhibition. The museum left it to me to organise the corporate events around the gallery, walking tours, dinners etc. My customers are mainly corporates, financial sector, professional services companies with events organised as part of luxury travel packages and major conferences held in the city. A tour, like a twilight tour of the gallery takes place between 5pm and 6pm and costs around £500 for 20 people. ”
“In addition to organising specific events I act as a consultant to the museums and corporates. For example the new Riverside Museum is raising money ahead of the planned opening in May. I organise hard hat tours to introduce potential supporters to what the museum is doing. I put companies in touch with the appeals director to see if they can offer support in cash or kind.”
“The third part of my business is the most exciting just now as we are working with the museums to design and produce walking tours that are downloadable to smart phones. Unlike the tours that you can take through the headsets provided at the museums themselves, this will be an application that can be downloaded, taken away and kept. And unlike the museum based tours the downloaded application will be audio and visual. It will have images of the items being discussed on the tour so that you don’t have to actually visit the museum to take the tour. The museums are really keen on the project as we will produce and market the application and, in return for licencing the use of the images, they get a royalty from each sale. It’s a win-win situation.”
“It’s a really exciting project and really exciting times for Intermezzo Arts.”
Intermezzo provides unique access to arts and culture across the UK and assists museums, art galleries and heritage properties with income generation streams. We develop customers for art galleries, museums and unique properties and help promote arts and culture to corporate businesses, the conference market and luxury travel. We also offer consultancy to heritage properties wishing to obtain sponsorship for specific projects.