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IMAGE CREDIT: Scott Norsworthy

Elevating Engagement with Digital Art in the Workplace

Equitable Bank supports cutting-edge artists by giving their work a home

Equitable Bank supports the arts. A lot of banks do. But for the Toronto-based financial institution, finding pieces from cutting-edge artists is a real priority. But while most financial institutions have a physical art collection hanging on their walls, Equitable uses monitors to display screen-based work.

Shannon Linde, art curator for Equitable Bank.

Equitable Bank

Image Credit: Scott Norsworthy

Digital art is an emerging artform and as such there are gaps in funding. Those working in construction know how challenging it can be to move from conventional models to something new. The same is true with the acquisition of art. Because of its profile, digital art is just not as financially viable. That’s what spurred Equitable Bank into action 

Five years ago, they spearheaded the Emerging Digital Artists Award. The call went out to artists. A panel of judges was assembled. Finalists were selected and a winner was chosen to be included in Equitable’s digital art collection. Over the past five years, their collection has grown along with the number of submissions. On September 20, the latest winner of the Emerging Digital Artists Award was announced. “More, Less, About the Same” by Winnipeg’s Alyssa Bornn was chosen from 70 other entries the latest addition to Equitable Bank’s collection. 

Alyssa Bornn: More, Less, About the Same (2019)

A new wave

“These artists are really contemporary in a lot of ways,” says Linde. “We can’t deny our relationship with digital culture is here to stay for the near future and if anything, it’s just deepening more and more. So, thinking about art making being physical works, I just don’t think we can do that anymore.” 

Part of re-envisioning that relationship to art involves creating new spaces for it. For Equitable that meant creating a place to show off these works of art. Using DIRTT walls with integrated technology, Equitable turned the 15th floor hallway of their office into a mini gallery. The rest of the collection is showcased on the bank’s seventh floor in another integrated monitor. This public-facing space features a series of digital images in a rotating sequence like a carousel. Using monitors that are mounted within the walls, the focus remains on the art, just like Equitable Bank intended. 

Past winner Trudy Erin Elmore: Stranded Assets (2016)

“There are artists working today in a lot of different mediums to actually use digital tools to conceptualize digital space and how we navigate,” says Linde. It’s a thing that not a lot of people are doing in a meaningful way so it’s something that we’re proud to be a part of.” 

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