The global shutdown caused by the coronavirus has meant much of the work of our agents has come to a temporary pause. While we are unable to deliver and install for museums and galleries, many of our members have put their efforts towards helping the fight against the disease and its consequences.
We have several agents based in Los Angeles, and one of them, Cooke’s Crating, has been proactive in its efforts to support local hospitals in their work treating coronavirus patients. President of Cooke’s Crating Bryan Cooke reports that the company donated hundreds of masks and gloves, and other supplies to the University of California Hospital in Los Angeles. The hospital was suffering critical shortages of the equipment needed to protect medical staff from the coronavirus. Atelier 4’s Los Angeles facility also answered the call in another part of the city. Aware that the larger hospitals in LA were taking delivery from other businesses), Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Atelier 4, felt that “we could be more beneficial if we acted locally.” The company’s facility in East Los Angeles donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to one of the clinics at the Ramona Gardens public housing development, which is located in one of the city’s low income neighborhoods.
In the temporary halt of normal services, a number of our fine art shippers have used their transport capabilities to move essential goods. One of these was Gander & White’s San Francisco facility who connected with several food banks in the city to help deliver food parcels. “While we can’t carry out our normal service at this time, we felt it was only right to utilise our fleet to help others as best we could,” says Linda Boe, Branch Director of Gander & White San Francisco.
Over in New York, SRI Fine Art Services cleared out its PPE inventory when the non-essential work shutdown order was issued and also donated materials to local hospitals. About 2000 nitrile gloves and several hundred N95 masks were donated to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY and The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ. Gander & White’s New York facility did the same with their supplies of protective equipment to a hospital close to their base.
Our members recognise the financial burden placed on their employees by furlough measures that some businesses have had to undertake. Dietl International, based in New York, provides one example of how businesses are doing what they can to ensure the welfare of their staff in this time. The executive staff of Dietl and its parent company, Rockit Cargo, have personally funded a relief program for former and current Dietl staff to receive financial aid while the lockdown affects their income.
Dietl International has also come up with a smart idea to help art sector workers from all over the world, who may be struggling for their regular income. Noticing that many art technicians and museum and gallery staff are also artists, Dietl has created an online platform for these individuals to share and sell their artworks, with the entirety of the profit going to the artists themselves. 97 artists are currently exhibiting on the site, and works are being sold daily.
European ICEFAT agents have been doing their part too. UK-based Crown Fine Art used eight vehicles to transport 50 tonnes of essential equipment to NHS hospitals around the country, between them driving 7000 miles to 8 different locations. This was a massive voluntary undertaking, on Easter Sunday too, for which the whole team should be proud.
Italian ICEFAT agent Apice used its hardware to help the battle against coronavirus. It has a 3D printer which technicians normally use to create fixtures to secure crated sculptures and paintings in place. They have now repurposed it to make valves for ventilators, providing a crucial component for a device directly used to save people’s lives.
Around the world there have been examples of ICEFAT shippers working to support those directly or indirectly affected by the disease. Beyond the shippers mentioned above, we have heard many other stories of ICEFAT technicians helping out, whether that be delivering food parcels, checking in on neighbours and colleagues, or making masks for others to aid social distancing efforts.
It’s taking cooperation from all of us to stop the spread and mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on our societies, and we’re doing what we can to help—globally.