The worlds of art and finance often make for uncomfortable bedfellows. Throughout history, artists from every discipline have depended on the financial support of the state and from private patrons, in the form of philanthropic donations. Can art survive without philanthropy, and should it? If an artistic individual or organisation is to benefit from an injection of funds from without, must they become beholden to the whims and beliefs of their benefactor, particularly if the funding comes from corporate sponsorship whose ideals may not match that of the arts organisation?

In this edition of the Art & Us series, Rebecca Coates, curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, is joined by Philanthropy Australia CEO Louise Walsh, Australia Council and Creative Partnerships Australia board member Rupert Myer, and Clemenger BBDO Chief Executive Peter Biggs.

As they look back over the history of patronage and scrutinise the ethics behind artistic philanthropy, they look at whether it’s possible for the worlds of money and art to co-exist without the interests of one seeping into the other. Or is there a method for financially supporting the arts without compromise?


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