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BUSINESS: Corporate Sponsorship by Victoria Brown of www.spunsugarjewellery.com


Richard Branson has quite a lot of it, most of us want it and Spain and Greece desperately need it. It is of course, money.


You can't turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper or go online without hearing about the mess we've got our economy into. The state currently owes more than a trillion pounds (that’s 12 zero’s on the end if you’re interested). It’s therefore unsurprising that with so many priorities and so little money, the Arts Sector is frequently at the bottom of the pile for government funding in favour of ‘frontline services’. As a result, Art Council England’s budget was cut by the Government by almost a third in 2010.


Since the nation’s finances are unlikely


to improve dramatically 28 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2012


in the immediate future, artists are being forced to find a new way to finance their work. So what’s the answer? The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt thinks increasing corporate sponsorship is the way forward. Since he was appointed in 2010, he has launched various schemes to encourage businesses to invest in the arts, even writing to Chief Executives of top British Companies himself.


Of course, arts sponsorship is nothing new. Many artists going back in history have been funded by wealthy patrons. Back in the fifteenth century, the mural on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling was funded by Michaelangelo’s ‘patron’ - Pope Julius II. It’s said that Botticelli and Da Vinci would not have been become successful artists without the help of


their sponsors. Even composers like Vivaldi had their work commissioned by wealthy benefactors. However, there has been controversy over the subject too. In 2010 the Tate hit the headlines when it was revealed one of its sponsors is the controversial oil giant BP. Protestors demonstrated outside the museum by pouring oil. They argued that the company that was responsible for the Deepwater Horizon spill shouldn’t be sponsoring art. So should we be worried that artists are being encouraged down the corporate sponsorship route?


On the whole, it's not something that appears to worry people. According to a survey commissioned by the Threadneedle prize 2 years ago, the majority of people think it’s the right way to go. Two thirds of people


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