‘Corporate sponsored art’ isn’t as bad as it sounds

Kai Ryssdal Mar 24, 2015
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‘Corporate sponsored art’ isn’t as bad as it sounds

Kai Ryssdal Mar 24, 2015
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There is a trend in the corporate world right now that’s a little more culturally enriching than say, buying another jet for executives or paying out another CEO bonus.

Some big companies, instead of sponsoring a race team or a football club, are sponsoring artists.

“Now Facebook has a residency, it’s just kind of taken over,” says Elizabeth Segran, who wrote about the phenomenon for Fast Company.

Take Amtrak for example. After a writer noted on Twitter how much writing he gets done on trains, Amtrak gave him a writing residency.

“This was kind of like a large-scale publicity stunt,” Segran says.

Segran points out how Facebook’s artist sponsorship is a little different though. “With Facebook, it’s more of a commissioning process… It’s more of an opportunity to support artists by buying their work.”

But how do the CFOs of these big companies justify the money they’re spending on art programs? Segran says there’s usually a payoff for the corporations too. In the case of software maker Autodesk, “…it allows them to see these very creative people pushing technology to the very limits of what it can do,” Segran says.

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