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As Montana grows, so does Klasson Fine Art Services, assisting clients with storage, transportation, installation, and data management for large art collections. Owner David Klasson finds his business responding to the uptick in real estate transactions by offering additional services to clients as they acquire and disperse pieces in their fine art collection. Included in those services is a new database art management system. "It has brought our business to another level of service, helping our clients with real-time information about their art collections." Klasson says.
“Much of our business revolves around the sale of homes and ranches,” Klasson says. If someone buys a house, they want to begin collecting artwork right away and they ship it to our ware-house to hold until they are ready for the install. On the other hand, if someone is selling a house, they need Klasson’s service to pick up the artwork, crate it, document it, and send it to another residence, an auction house, or gallery. Or perhaps the art lives in the warehouse until the client decides what they want to do with the art. As a result, Klasson’s warehouse activity is increasing.
“We’ve been working all over the state collecting art,” Klasson says. “Warehouse activity is on the rise, which drives the transportation side of the business. Some of the art has to be crated and packaged. On the back end, we bring it to the new location and install it. The installation part of the business involves a great deal of technical expertise; it’s not just putting a nail in a wall.”
The majority of their work is in Montana, but Klasson Fine Art Services has gone to Texas, Colorado, and California to transport art collections and for installations. Some clients prefer to have their art on a dedicated truck from start to finish. “We’ll go anywhere,” he notes. “Part of where we are taking the business is in our ability to go anywhere to do art installations.”
Klasson’s partner, Beth Kennedy, works with clients, designers, art advisors, and galleries to obtain fact sheets, images, and any other available information about the artwork, which is then added into the database. The information is sent directly to the client, upon request, through an encrypted URL that is unique to each client. “It’s a service we didn’t start out doing, but we found that our clients really appreciated the ability to view their art, as needed,” Klasson states.
“This gives us a way to manage the collection for the client, making it easy for them know where their art collection is lo-cated as well as the details of every piece,” Kennedy says. “The database benefits owners, property managers, and designers with inventory management services. It allows the owners to see their art collection, regardless of where they are.”
Art collections accumulate over the course of years. The Klas-son database allows clients to view the art, whether it is through an iPad, phone, or computer. The link uses an encrypted network that remains unique to each client and is sent directly to them for private viewing. The URL is secure and the data is backed up every day. “They can pull up a view of their collection at any time. As pieces arrive to us, we are able to add them to their private view,” Klasson says. “We can take the inventory that a ranch manager or personal assistant will send us that lists a complete compilation of the artworks in a home. I can then designate those pieces to their private list. This database pin-points exactly where each piece of art is located.”
In addition to the database, Klasson Fine Art Services provides a climate-controlled warehouse. “This means we control the humidity, heat, and cooling of our space according to what is best for fine art storage. Our facility is maintained by a full-time staff, and kept under 24-hour surveillance, which is monitored by an off-site security company. We feel we are the perfect stewards for all types of artwork, large and small, as well as sculptures and other valuables. Our services meet the needs of packing, crating, transportation, storage, and installation of the art,” Klasson explains.
A year ago, Klasson Fine Art Services began to work with clients on evacuation plans. “People are starting to think about how to get their artworks to a safe place in the case of a natural disaster. Having these plans in place is a vital part of the logistics when working with large, delicate art collections. We have measures in place for large trucks, phone call protocols, and in-depth plans so if an evacuation is necessary, everything is in place to move the artworks to safety,” he says.
“Because we are doing more collections and transport around the state and beyond, we are increasing our livery of trucks this year,” Klasson notes. The new vehicles are all-wheel or four-wheel drive climate-con-trolled box vans. “We are converting all the vehicles to be four-wheel or all-wheel drive for better access and traction in difficult-to-reach locations. When we go out to these ranches, with limited access, we need four-wheel drive, especially with a high-end art collection in the back,” he says.
“Our services would not be complete without our wonderful staff and installers, who maintain the integrity of our company through their excellent customer and client service and technical expertise. Our goal is to carry our core company values to everything we do – from our first contact with a client on the phone or in an email to the work we do in the field – we feel our employees do an amazing job in demonstrating the flexibility necessary to meet the requirements of our clients,” Klasson says.