Council Shines w/ Business Arts Partnership Model
15 August 2003 at 1:08 pm
Stonnington Council in Melbourne has gained recognition as the role model for local councils throughout Australia when it comes to facilitating and promoting successful arts business relationships. It’s taken the model produced by the Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) to new heights.
The council says arts and culture make society a better place to be, which underlines the critical need for arts and business to meet and develop mutually beneficial partnerships.
Successful business arts partnerships have long been forged at a corporate level, nationally, but have been under-developed at a local level.
The head of communications, business development and planning at Stonnington, Paul Cherednichenko explains that this is partly due to a lack of the negotiating skills and other resources that are required to build suitable partnerships – skills and resources that are found within the marketing departments of major companies.
Cherednichenko says Stonnington saw this as an opportunity to take on the role of facilitator, bring the arts and business communities together and foster mutually rewarding partnerships that could benefit society.
Stonnington went to the Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) and adapted its template for successful partnerships.
Winsome McCaughey, executive director AbaF, spoke at a business seminar and sparked an interest that has developed into solid links between business and the arts in Stonnington. By using the partnership between KPMG and Melbourne Symphony as a successful case study, McCaughey demonstrated how arts and business have formed mutually beneficial alliances.
First, Stonnington hosted a round-table discussion, attended by cultural development specialists from all over Melbourne.
Next, the council invited the local business and arts communities to get involved with the program and, drawing on the AbaF model, facilitated separate discussion groups for the two communities.
The groups were coached and given feedback about the areas of expertise that they lacked. The business group was more productive when the session tuned into a boardroom-style format with each participant taking a turn in the chair. The ideas were enhanced as each member of the group added to the ideas already tabled.
The arts group took a different approach. A common thread running through the group revealed that the majority did not have a business plan and therefore were unsure of what assets they possessed and what they could bring to a partnership. They responded better to role-playing and grew to understand the strength of their businesses when they were asked to act out a scenario in which they each presented a partnership case to a hypothetical business partner.
After the workshops, a round table discussion dinner was held for the members of both groups to meet and discuss relationships.
Cherednichenko says the result was a successful model has been established with a firm platform in place for future sponsorship programs
Relationships developed between:
> Readings and Stonnington Symphony
> Worrells Motors and Malvern Artists Society
> Toorak milliner, Paris Kyne and Polyglot Puppet Theatre
> Toorak Village Traders Association and Sculpture Festival.
He says the benefits were numerous and each partnership brought real value such as new customers, a different perspective, specialist skills and positive media coverage.
In addition to Stonnington providing the guidance, locations and skilled executives to manage the program it also applied the partnership principals to its own operations by refurbishing its customer service area at the Malvern Town Hall to create an exhibition space for show casing local artists.