Preserving the artist's heritage
Art Inventory Information & Tools

An inventory of an artist's work provides a great benefit to the artist and the artist's heirs.  Some of those benefits are:

    a.    An accurate record of all all art created whether sold, loaned, and retained.
    b.    It is a necessary component of an informative archive about the artist.
    c.    For tax purposes it is evidence that the artist is engaged in a business
    d.    For insurance purposes it provides documentation on the existence of the work and its location.
    e.    In soliciting gallery representation or an exhibition it provides a view into the artists work.
    f.    In applying for grants it can bolster the validity of your claimed accomplishments.
    g.    It makes the settlement of your estate much easier for your heirs.

Creating an inventory is not difficult. It takes time, but that time will accrue great benefit in the future. How much time depends upon the volume of art you have produced, the level of detail that you want to record, whether you have photographed or scanned your art, and the method you choose to record the data. Recording the data can be handwritten or done with a computer. A computerized inventory makes searching the inventory's records easier, but that is only an advantage if the artist has numerous works. A handwritten inventory requires no special efforts or tools. A handwritten inventory can easily be done on index cards or plain paper. It requires the least effort to create but the most effort to make duplicate copies for your purposes. Considering the benefits listed above, a computer inventory would be best unless there are so few works to be inventoried that duplication of the inventory records would be easy. A computerized inventory can be done with a variety of software including word processor, spread sheet, and database programs. There are programs available for Windows and Mac.

Many artists are reluctant to begin the inventory process because their legacy works are so numerous that it looks like an insurmountable task. The strategy for dealing with that situation is rather simple. Begin your inventory with the work you currently created and add in legacy art as time permits. This will not only get you started, but it will also, as time permits, get you up to date. Making an inventory is not a race. There is no deadline, however there are good reasons to get started.

To make the process of creating an inventory easier Senior Artists Initiative has created a number of tools that will facilitate the process. We have also researched a variety of software programs designed specifically for artists. Some of those programs allow the construction of databases that can be simple or complex. Other programs go beyond inventory recording by serving as artist's management tools.  Senior Artists Initiative is not endorsing any program or system listed in this article. We are simply providing information for your evaluation.

To review a selection of inventory system alternatives with either downloadable tools or links to more information and the means to try or purchase. We hope you will find the information to be of value to you as an artist.