Monday 20 June 2011

Cultural Asset Management - Bringing art storage into the 21st century

Art warehousing is redefined for the 21st century

Toronto curators open Cultural Asset Management facility -- a contemporary, secure, museum quality environment providing integrated services for cultural asset

TORONTO: June 7, 2011 . . . The art of managing important cultural artefacts has been improved and updated. Shelley Falconer and Shawna White, two well-known Toronto based art professionals, are applying 21st century protocols to protecting and evaluating art collections. With a new approach to cultural asset management, a highly respected team, and a sophisticated warehouse, they are establishing a new level of service to the art industry.
The pair established Cultural Asset Management Group in 2008 to provide integrated art management services to private collectors, corporations, governments and the non-for-profit community. With clients ranging from Canadian museums and galleries to the Toronto District School Board, Manitoba Hydro, Absolut, Liquid, Bonded Services, Prime Properties and Remington Group, CAM Group has rapidly distinguished itself as one of Canada’s premier art consulting firms. CAM Group has recently opened a specialized facility in the GTA, to store valuable art and artefact collections in a secure, 30,000 sq ft environment...but there is much more to the story.
Theirs is not a typical warehouse. The environmentally controlled building is not only secure, it includes space for customized vaults for valuable and delicate paintings, prints and sculpture, and has larger space for oversized artefacts. It also has a display gallery so that clients can view and evaluate art in a museum-like setting. All is overseen by a team of highly qualified art professionals.
“The CAM Group has brought together a distinguished group of experts and scholars who are prominent in their respective fields, to provide cultural stewardship,” explains company CEO Shelley Falconer. “We are not just about storage, our facility is managed by experienced curators and collections managers who provide cultural asset management - appraisals and evaluations, provenance research and evaluation through to packing and shipping and of course acquisition, de-accessioning and investment advice.”
CAM Group Co-Founder and President, Shawna White who has been active in the cultural community for the past 20 years explains, "At the Corporate Management level CAM Group provides strategic planning for museums, galleries and government. From policy development to collection analysis, acquisition and exhibition development we offer integrated cultural services.”
Since launching the CAM Group, accolades have arrived from satisfied clients across Canada who are benefiting from this new full service agency. According to long time client, Garry Leach, Director, Manitoba Hydro Board, "Cultural Asset Management Group has enabled Manitoba Hydro to transform a basic vision into a vibrant professional programme. Their intense understanding of Canadian cultural asset stewardship and the ability to effectively manage the process was of immeasurable assistance to Manitoba Hydro in realizing our cultural objectives. CAM Group made your project a success."
Gary Crawford, now Councillor, Ward 36, City of Toronto explains that while he was a Trustee for the Toronto District School Board (the nation's largest), the Board's priorities "were for providing access and support to the Board's Fine Art Collection. We selected Cultural Asset Management Group for their credentials and experience. Their untiring dedication and professionalism to the arts and public education proved invaluable! "
Clients are not always corporate, individuals and collectors benefit from CAM Group services as well. Artist, Joe Fafard knows his projects are in good hands, "I have worked with Shelley at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and now with Cultural Asset Management Group, and appreciate her ability to work through the process with the artist, the museum and the client. From design through to installation and exhibition, she is able to navigate professionally through the many aesthetic, social, economic, maintenance and environmental considerations inherent in the process."
CEO Shelley Falconer’s 20-year career includes international experience as a consultant, curator, educator and administrator. She has worked with some of the world's leading cultural institutions including Sotheby's and Waddington Galleries in England; the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Government of Canada, the Ontario Government, University of Toronto and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Partner and president, Shawna White is a fine art specialist with extensive knowledge of historical Canadian art. Her career includes experience at such prestigious institutions as the Ashmolean in Oxford, England; the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; the State Museum of New York in Albany; as well as Canadian Art specialist at Sotheby's (Canada) Inc. and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
These exceptional art professionals are joined by associate partner, Pamela Campbell one of Canada’s leading decorative arts experts. And, with years of experience in the Cultural Management field, Corrinne Fairbanks is CAM Group's museum registrar.
CAM Group was recently named as agents in Ontario for Gaylord Brothers Inc., the trusted source for archival products, tools and supplies. Established in 1896 in Syracuse, New York, the family-owned company is recognized worldwide by public libraries, schools, colleges and museums. Their wide range of products will bring peace of mind to CAM Group clients.
From a single painting to a large collection, Cultural Asset Management Group and its depth of knowledge and expertise are proving to the art world that the time has arrived for a private, full service agency that goes far beyond storage. With services that include: planning, policy development, packing, shipping, appraisals, research, photography, inventory, installation,consignment management, private sales and conservation advice --clients can be assured that their most rare and prestigious items will handled, evaluated and preserved with care by skilled professionals. For more information visit:

Top Photograph: Secret entrance to secure art warehouse in Toronto
Bottom: Shelley Falconer inside CAM Group headquarters

The CAM Group facility has never been opened for media tours. . . until now.
Accredited journalists interested in covering this story, touring the new facility and interviewing founders Shelley Falconer and Shawna White can make arrangements through Stephen Weir & Associates.
Stephen Weir & Associates, Publicists:
Linda Crane 905-257-6033 c. 416-727-0112
Stephen Weir 416-489-5868 c. 416-801-3101

Move over Mas Men


The winds of change are blowing through the Toronto Mas Bands Association (TMBA). The association that actually recruits and trains the 17,000 or so people who perform in the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana) have set up their Mas Camps and begun to beat the drums for this year's festival. There are 16 Mas Camps in Toronto this year, 30% that are being run by a woman (five camps). Last year only 2 of the 16 camps were controlled by females.

For the past two weeks I have been escorting journalist William Doyle Marshall around the city to visit the Mas Camps. Four of the camps - 1 in Scarborough and 3 in Etobicoke are where the groundbreaking camps are located this year.

Pictured above are four of the five Mas Women.

Top Left: Narissa Ali has set up her Renaissance Mas Productions camp in a small warehouse on Howdon Avenue (back of the building). Her theme? Time after Time. When we visited her camp she was preparing for an upcoming Internet broadcast with a Trinidad based company.
Top Right: Whitney Doldron took over Mas Players International from her father Courtney, two years ago. This year she has a very large, modern camp in Etobicoke adjacent to Highway 427 (beside a banquet hall). William Doyle Marshall is shown above taking her picture. The theme this year is Fairytale Fantasies.
Bottom Right: Thea Jackson is expecting at least 1,000 men and women to join her Tru DYNASTY camp this year. She has a big space in Etobicoke - 246 Brockport Drive - bring you GPS!
Bottom Left: Kathleen Hughes believes that running a Mas Camp is a family affair. When we visited her Renaissance Mas Productions in Etobicoke, she had her father (and former Mas Man), her aunts, nieces and children making costumes for this year's festival. The camp is located at 175 The Westway (The Westway & Islington) in a city community centre next to an outdoor tennis court. There is a lot of free parking!
NOT VISITED YET: Calypso singer Susan Grogan (Susan G)has set up her new Spirits of the Caribbean Mas Camp at 1720 Midland Avenue, Unit 15. Doyle and I will visit that camp this week.