Who keeps the art? Client or coach?

Who keeps the art produced by a client was a great question raised at the last Introduction to Art in Coaching workshop. On the surface the simple answer is the client as the image belongs to them. But the issue here is wider and raises other questions around confidentiality, taking photos of images, and safe keeping of the image.

In the next couple of blogs, I want to talk about each of these areas beginning here with what happens if a client leaves their art behind or asks you to keep it.

The art created by your client is theirs and is an integral part of their coaching. It is theirs to do with what they will. I always expect clients to take their images away with them and surprised when they don’t. This act in itself is a rich area of noticing and exploration given that they have invested a lot of themselves into creating their art. Clients have also asked me to keep their work whilst we are working together.

So, what do you do if your client decides not to take their art with them?

If they have asked you to hold on to it then please do keep it. But what happens if they just leave it behind. In these situations, I always get in touch with my client letting them know that the image has been left behind and ask them if it is okay for me keep it on their behalf. This is because images created can take time to reveal their meaning and importance to clients and you may find it being referred to later on. Having it available will help.

If your client doesn’t want you to keep their art then you must respect their wishes and ask them what they want to happen to it. Whatever that is, it should be done and it may also be an area of noticing and exploring.

It is really important that if you have permission to keep a client’s art then it must be kept safely so it is not damaged or mislaid. It must be kept with respect in a private and confidential place. It falls within your contracting and ethical guidelines and how you keep art works should be explained to your client. It is important to have storage to do this. This could be portfolio bags of varying sizes for flat images, or boxes for 3D creations.

In the next blog, ‘Keeping a record of the art’, I will further explore confidentiality and keeping records of art produced.

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