November 11, 2019
In lobbies and hallways of five Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough locations, art collides with the serious nature of legal work and lightens the environment for sometimes anxious clients.
Nelson Mullins is engaging with collegiate art programs across the country to bring fresh installations of artwork to its office hallways. Now in its fifth year, the partnerships are a passion project for Facilities Coordinator Charlene Pieper who says that the benefits are a win-win for both Nelson Mullins and the universities. “The participating offices house fresh, original student, faculty, and alumni art,” Said Pieper. “The art departments of the universities can use lease funds to purchase equipment and supplies, and some of the partnerships offer small scholarships and stipends to the student artists. Some artwork is even sold due to exposure in a corporate environment.”
Pieper feeds her passion by scouring entries and hand-picking pieces that suit the design and culture of the respective office locations. “We select pieces that offer a variety of media and subjects to enhance the halls of our corporate environment,” said Pieper.
Denver Managing Partner Mark Clouatre is eager to have the Denver office partner with the Community College of Denver’s visual arts and graphic design program as the firm’s fourth public-private art showcase partnership. “The rotating student art installations will allow them to display their amazing pieces in a professional setting, while my colleagues, clients, and guests will enjoy cutting-edge, diverse, and eclectic works of art during our work day,” said Clouatre.
Nelson Mullins’ Huntington, West Virginia office initiated the flagship partnership with Marshall University in 2014. The Huntington office is located within a complex of five historic buildings and the fourth round of student artwork is displayed throughout the second floor. “The partnership with Marshall University’s School of Art and Design strengthens our ties to the University, provides needed funds to the art department, and allows us to enjoy spectacular and eclectic works of art in our new offices in downtown Huntington,” said Marc Williams, Huntington managing partner.
In addition to Marshall University and the Community College of Denver, the firm is engaging in partnerships with Jacksonville University, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta, and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte, introducing a rotation of student, faculty, and alumni artwork in the respective locations. In total, the firm is displaying over 200 pieces through this program, giving more than 60 artists a yearlong exhibition.
All five collegiate collaborations outline a selection process led by Pieper and the local managing partner. After the selection process, the student artwork is installed and exhibited for the year-long lease. Once installed, each piece includes a label detailing the title, dimensions, materials or medium used, and the collegiate partnership.
On occasion, artists have extended the lease another year and some pieces in Jacksonville, Florida have become permanent fixtures. “Our office features art in a variety of media, including paintings, carvings, glass-blown pieces and wallmounted sculptures, photographic prints on metal, painted and carved windows and doors and multimedia pieces that combine paintings with non-traditional elements,” said Daniel Nunn, Jacksonville managing partner.
With the recent growth of the Atlanta office, the firm now occupies space on the sixth floor, which has a modern design. Desiring art to complement that look, the firm began a partnership with SCAD in March 2018. “You can see SCAD’s campus across I-75 so it was a natural connection,” said Atlanta Managing Partner Michael Hollingsworth. “Most of the artwork is contemporary abstract and is exhibited in the conference room and common areas.”
The second rotation of UNC Charlotte student artwork has been installed on both floors of that Nelson Mullins location. “The large, vibrant pieces outside the main conference rooms on the top floor are eye-catching,” said Charlotte Managing Partner Susan Jackson. “They generate conversation and interest in the other pieces throughout the office—and all were installed less than a month ago.”
Pieper and the firm continue to research prospective partnerships in 20 remaining office locations. To inquire about participating in the program, please contact Nelson Mullins Facilities Coordinator Charlene Pieper.
Established in 1897, Nelson Mullins has more than 800 attorneys and government relations professionals with offices in 11 states and Washington, D.C. For more information on the firm, go to www.nelsonmullins.com
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