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Business Needs the Arts

17 June 2002 at 1:06 pm
Staff Reporter
According to the Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Brian Kennedy, everyone wins when the arts and business join forces.

Staff Reporter | 17 June 2002 at 1:06 pm


Business Needs the Arts
17 June 2002 at 1:06 pm

According to the Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Brian Kennedy, everyone wins when the arts and business join forces. Business gains the creativity and imagination of the arts, and the arts gain badly needed financial support.

But to reap the benefits, business and the arts have to understand each other’s different values, needs, and definitions of success.

Dr Kennedy was speaking in Sydney last month at an Australia Business Arts Foundation breakfast function hosted by ABN Amro.

Dr Kennedy says the arts can offer much in the way of establishing the profile of business.

He says it impacts heavily on corporate relations. It can establish or deepen market advantage, by demonstrating the social values of a brand. In particular, the arts benefit staff development.”

Dr Kennedy is well qualified to speak on the importance of partnerships – the Gallery’s coffers have been swelled by corporate sponsorship, enabling it to mount important exhibitions. They include Monet and Japan sponsored by Sony, the National Sculpture Prize sponsored by Macquarie Bank, and The Italians sponsored by The Tenix Group. Major donations have assisted the Gallery to buy paintings such as David Hockney’s A Bigger Grand Canyon.

Dr Kennedy says business is a winner too when it engages with the arts .

Referring to what he described as the Gallery’s “impeccable” partnership with Macquarie Bank, he says the outcome of its involvement with Macquarie Bank has seen significant community recognition of their support for the arts, continuous partnership branding of the exhibition and catalogue, the involvement of bank staff with our curators and the works of art.

He says business needs access to the creativity found in the arts world. All businesses know that the currency of the future is knowledge and ideas.

Dr Kennedy went on to say that the arts are about new ways of looking. They teach us that life is not all work, that exploring the senses, whether in moments of silence, or the enjoyment of sounds, are wonders to be cherished. The future of business is founded in imagination. The arts are about ideas, and business needs them.

Dr Kennedy says that the arts and business need to understand each other better and establish a climate of greater trust and the freedom to allow each other to do what we do best.

The arts and business have different ways of measuring success. According to Dr. Kennedy the arts provide huge value into the community, and the value of art is very different from its worth. Monetary value is only one value, and by no means necessarily the most important one. Tolerance, harmony and diversity are all supported in art exhibitions.

He says there has been too much emphasis by society and governments on quantitative measurement. The National Gallery prefers to measure its success in experiential terms, such as how memorable they are, or how intriguing, innovative, thought provoking, diverse.

At the same time, Dr Kennedy says the arts need to understand more about the aims of business. Businesses need to be a part of their communities and invest in them, and supporting the arts is one way of doing so.

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