ART FUNDING AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an article reporting that a rise in private donations has provided the Australian arts scene with a reprieve from an unprecedented fall in corporate sponsorship, a situation that is all too familiar to Asian arts scenes.
Corporate sponsorship decline not steep as anticipated
The article summarises that the dip in corporate sponsorship was an expected side effect of the global financial crisis. Jane Haley, the chief executive of the Australian Business Arts Foundation (ABaF), commented that the decline has “been rather better than may have been expected.” The rise in private donations reflected efforts by arts organisations to pursue donors over the past five to ten years, she explained.
Arts funding survey shows rise in private donations
The information in the article was gathered from a report produced by the Australia Business Arts Foundation, which surveyed private sector support of the arts from 2009 to 2010 in 318 arts and cultural organisations. The report found that sponsorship had decreased nationally by 2.7 percent last year, but a 10.6 % increase in donations had prevented overall private-sector support from declining. Furthermore, the report found that private support had doubled since the period between 2001 and 2012 and that overall support for the arts had increased by 4.25 percent, with the performing arts garnering a majority of private support ( totaling $79 million), followed by galleries (with $51 million) and festivals ($31 million).
Case study with resonance
However, private sponsorship compensating for a lack of funding in the arts is not isolated to Australia, and the report by ABaF report is one of particular relevance in Asia. In most countries in Asia, save for Hong Kong and Singapore, public or government support for the arts is minimal with most funding coming from private donations. Darwin Chen, Board member of the Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium (APPC), notes in an interview on art and philanthropy sponsorship that “most funding for the arts in Asia comes from private institutions, corporations or individuals. These primarily come from foundations with education as their main focus, and find a niche in the arts. Corporate sponsorship is regarded as strategic philanthropy: art as a means of generating community recognition and branding.”
Chen further reflects that despite the economic crisis, private sponsorship will continue on a similar level, just as in the case of Australia, but cautions that “there will be difficulty in getting new sponsors, especially corporate sponsors, as it would be a reduction in their own investment income. Art companies need to work harder to come up with imaginative schemes to gather more resources.”
- Asian Art Museum saved from debt by city – February 2011 – the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is saved from bankruptcy by city leaders
- Is Hong Kong’s current art climate failing local artists? Wall Street Journal discusses – January 2011 – international auction houses and big-name gallery spaces dominated the market in 2010
- Clarissa Chikiamco on Philippine independent art spaces funding challenge: Philippine Star – July 2010 – three reasons independent art spaces fail
- Deutsche Bank signs 5 year lead sponsorship deal with ART HK – December 2009 – the HK Art Fair continues to grow in prominence
- Property companies splurge on art in Hong Kong, recent trend – June 2009 – a new tradition emerges in art sponsorship
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