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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Tips for Artists on Avoiding the Worst-Case Scenario When Moving Their Prized Artwork - By Brittany Fisher (Guest Writer)

For artists, a big move can be a super stressful situation. The worst-case scenario for any artist is settling into their new space only to find that much of their prized work has been damaged during the move. Even if you have mover’s insurance, money can’t replace broken art. It’s vital that you know what to do to minimize the chances of this nightmare scenario. Here are some tips.

Stock up on all the right packing materials

When packing dishes or other “fragile” items for the move, some simple packing paper may be adequate. For moving artwork, this most likely will not suffice. You need to know what kind of packing materials to secure before you begin to pack up your precious items. 

You’ll need boxes (both small and large), masking tape, foam padding, packing paper, foam peanuts, and bubble wrap. With these supplies in hand, you should be prepared to protect your artwork and art supplies as best you can. 

How to move large artwork

You’ll want some extra padding when packing up large canvasses or framed artwork. 

“Wrap artwork or canvases in unprinted newsprint or plain brown paper—you don’t want any ink to transfer onto the paint. Also, apply heavy duty corner protectors and a layer or two of bubble wrap or foam front and back, and then tuck securely into large, heavy-duty, adjustable picture boxes,” suggests It’s also a smart idea to tape a giant “X” across the glass of frames with masking tape, as to avoid major shatters if the glass happens to be broken during transit. 

You’ll want to get out the foam padding for sculptures, as it’s easily tucked between all the little nooks and crannies of a sculpted piece. A combination of foam, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts should suffice for sculptures. 

How to choose reliable movers

There’s a good chance that you’ll need to hire moving help. It’s not that you can’t pack it all up yourself (you most certainly should, to save costs), but if you hire good movers, they are better trained and prepared for moving fragile items. It’s hard to trust your valuables to strangers, so it’s vital that you know how to ensure you get high-quality movers. First, know how to spot bad movers. Most bad moving companies will have many (not just a couple) bad online reviews, will not want a survey of your items before moving, will refuse to give you a solid price quote on the job, and will not be readily willing to answer any and all questions you may have about their experience and qualifications. Some “bad movers” may just be careless and others may be looking to scam you (more on that here).

Three major tips: always get multiple quotes; never sign a blank contract; and interview movers as if they are applying for a job for your company (they are, when you think about it).

Be hands-on

Finally, you need to be hands-on on the day of the move. Don’t think that simply writing “FRAGILE” on your boxes is enough. Tell the movers exactly what is in every box and that they are extremely fragile and valuable. Make sure the movers do not stack the boxes on top of each other (especially for large paintings or pictures, which are better laid on their sides).

Moving is stressful for anyone, but for artists with their life’s work at stake, the stress level is ratcheted up to 100. If you take your time and pack right, you can mitigate the damage done even if there are mistakes in the actual move. And if you take your time in finding the right moving help, you can set your mind at ease. 

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