I attended the launch of two new reports at the Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre at the Melbourne Business School mainly to hear Carol Schwartz, who is the new Chair of the new body, Creative Partnerships Australia, formed through the merger of the Australia Business Arts Foundation and Artsupport.
The session was part of the program supported by the Margaret Lawrence Bequest, which enabled a study of public galleries and branding: Branding the Public Art Museum Sector: A New Competitive Model, by Associate Professor Jody Evans and Dr Kerrie Bridson, as well as a new report by Liz Gillies (whom I wrote about at the same time last year) and Joanna Minkiewicz, entitled Arts Philanthropy: Towards a Better Practice Model.
You can download and read both of the reports here. I won’t go into much detail about the public galleries branding one – as that was not really about philanthropy – rather accessibility, engagement, story and capabilities.
While Liz Gillies’ quick summary of Arts Philanthropy: Towards a Better Practice Model, demonstrated an interesting “gift relationship continuum” which can move from responsive, conventional, charity, manage to strategic, catalytic, creative and collaborative, I didn’t feel I heard anything new. I suggest you read the reports in full and have a look at Beyond Cultural Boundaries, published recently in The Age to draw out your own conclusions on how to incorporate their views of best practice in both branding and philanthropic partnerships into your own organisation.
Well, apparently there is a great commitment to the new organisation from the Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, and the government, and that it is a very exciting time for the arts following the Harold Mitchell Review and the review into the Australia Council while we anticipate the release of a National Cultural Policy, the first since Keating released Creative Nation in 1994.
Creative Partnerships Australia will encourage and facilitate private sector support for the creative industries, through continuing the programs undertaken by AbaF and Artsupport, and investigating social investment, microloans and crowdfunding.
Ms Schwartz’s speech was full of great statistics about what AbaF and Artsupport have already achieved, donations received, volunteers placed on boards or in skills volunteering roles with arts organisations, and workshops delivered. I wondered though if there was really anything new – and what, if any, the new strategic direction of the merged body would be? This is not to criticize the work the two organisations have been doing independently, but it had been my understanding that the merger was to do more than just put the organisations under one roof. Let me know if you agree or disagree on that point.
The one thing I was quite impressed with was actually seeing the chair of the new entity out in public speaking knowledgeably and credibly about the sector. I don’t recall ever having seen the previous chair of AbaF at a general public event advocating for the arts and private sector support – so for me – this in itself was a cultural change.
What do you think about the potential for Creative Partnerships Australia and do you anticipate real change in the advocacy of private sector support for the arts through this body?
What do you think of engaged philanthropy rather than responsive traditional grantmaking?
I look forward to your thoughts – please feel free to comment as loudly and often as you like.