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is now lower than it was in 2004/05.”


So why on earth would businesses want to hand their hard earned cash over to the arts? Drum is an agency that partners companies up with artistic projects. Deputy Head of Commercial Partnerships, Barty Mee, explains the appeal.


questioned said they thought that most of visual arts funding should come from corporate sponsorship and private donations.


That is


assuming of course, that these businesses actually have the money to invest.


Arts & Business is a charity which encourages the two to work together. Its annual figures show that although private investment in art is steadily on the rise, business investment has fallen by 7 percent to £134.2m. The reason? Businesses simply don’t have the money available. According to A & B, “Corporate money is a discretionary spend; particularly in hard times. As a result, business investment in 2010/11


29 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2012


“We would look into how we can partner up with whatever is culturally relevant as long as there is something in it for you the company and you were able to derive some clear benefit from it - like increased sales of your product or awareness and understanding and like-ability of your product. You’d never say


that the partnership between


Canon and London Fashion Week [for instance] is a mismatch.”


He does, however, warn of the dangers of sponsorship for its own sake, adding, “It would be madness to for anyone to go into something that’s completely mismatched just for the sake of some short term sales.”


Although they rely on various grants and ticket sales she says corporate sponsorship is just a fact of life for artists now: “I wish it didn’t have to be like that, but it absolutely does. And we have to be realistic because there is no money around, but as an artist I’m not going to stop making my work, I’m just going to think differently about how we make it.”


One person, who knows what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the arts cuts is Julia Negus - Co-founder of Theatre Absolute based in Coventry. They’ve been running their award- winning company since 1992 and the UK’s first shop-front theatre since


2009. Then after regularly securing funding from the arts council, it suddenly stopped.


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