Why invest in the arts?

Australians love sport.

That's a strange way to build a case for investment in the arts, but sport is a huge part of who we are as Australians.

Each year, 43% of us attend at least one sporting event.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' real-time estimate of the population, that's roughly

10,535,000 people.

That's why business is so keen to invest in sports sponsorships and marketing.

Why are we telling you? Because:

Australians actually love the arts more.

Twice as much, in fact. 86% – or


visit a 'cultural event or facility' each year. Although we see sport as intrinsic to our nation and national identity, Australian Bureau of Statistics' figures suggest we actually spend twice the amount of time in galleries than grandstands. That's 21 million reasons why business should invest in the arts.

Want to donate to the arts right now? Find a project and fund it.


It's not just about love, but love and money.

Corporate philanthropy is thriving too.

In 2015-16, large business gave

$9 billion

While small and medium business offered an additional $8.5 billion, totaling $17.5 billion over the previous financial year.

As an industry, the arts contributes

$4.2 billion to Australia's GDP

The wider 'cultural sector' contributes $50 billion to Australia's GDP.

According to Giving Australia 2016 findings,

14.9 million Australians gave

$12.5 billion To charities and not-for-profit organisations including arts and culture organisations.

This might be surprising.

But art is all around us. It contributes to every aspect of society.

You get on a train in peak hour and everyone's reading. It's silent; people are engaged with culture. Some are reading Buzzfeed, some are scrolling through content feeds, but they're all reading. You go to the footy and everyone sings their song after the game; the Geelong theme song is 'Toreador' from the 1875 Georges Bizet Opera, Carmen.

This is all the arts, and there are so many art forms involved. From design, through to production, post production – art influences and is intrinsic to everything: from triptychs to television commercials.

Art is universal. Every culture has music, singing, storytelling, visual communication. Art is fundamental to every single culture on earth.
– Fiona Menzies, CEO, Creative Partnerships Australia

Investing in the beginnings of art is essential – because so much stems from art.

– Fiona Menzies, CEO, Creative Partnerships Australia

Creative Partnerships Australia has been compiling profiles and case studies of successful arts and business partnerships since 2013.

What we've found is that, overwhelmingly, business leaders understand that partnering with the arts is commercially beneficial; it can help them reach new customers, enhance their brand and give them a competitive edge. They also consider the Australian arts sector a valuable source of creativity, inspiration and innovation; and a path to securing and retaining engaged, creative and innovative employees.

As CEO of Wesfarmers I've inherited a culture where we've sponsored the arts for many years. We think there's enormous value in doing that, and we get wonderful engagement with our people in all the arts groups that we support around the country. I want people in this organisation to be creative and innovative and we want people in the community to be creative and innovative.

– Richard Goyder AO, CEO, Wesfarmers

But, how does investment in the arts equate to return-on-investment in my sector?

Regardless of your industry, investment in the arts creates mutually beneficial relationships between business, artists, arts organisations and communities.

Partnering with (the Art Gallery of South Australia) gives us a valuable opportunity to build and establish long lasting relationships with Indigenous peoples, that are based on respect, meaningful engagement, trust and mutual benefit.
– Jacqui McGill, Asset President, BHP Billiton Olympic Dam

(Our partnership with) BHP Billiton has given us permission to be artistically brave.
– Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia

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If you offer professional services:

Connect with the broader community and add value to society. Investment in community arts programs is evidence of supporting and enhancing the communities you serve.

Our organisations want to have meaningful relationships with people in Melbourne who love their city, think about the issues affecting our communities, and care about independent arts. Our goal is to build our brand amongst people with progressive values, so we're looking for organisations that connect with this section of the community, and opportunities where we can create content that's interesting to our customers.
– Justin Fennessy, Head of Marketing, Bank Australia.

If you are in the resources sector:

Celebrate diversity, connect with the regional communities you work in and encourage social cohesion, creating a stronger economic environment and prosperous society for all.

Supporting culture and the arts in Western Australia is aligned with our commitment to contribute to the liveability of the communities in which we operate. We are proud to be able to give back to the Western Australian community through our partnerships.
– Roy Krzywosinski, Managing Director, Chevron Australia.

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If you are in the product engineering sector:

Align with creativity, innovation and burgeoning ideas. Arts organisations are fertile hotbeds for all these qualities and more.

As a German brand, culture and the arts are important to our heritage   reflecting our brand's values in a premium way. Investing in the arts in Australia enables us to engage with a sophisticated, art-loving audience and offer inspiring and unique experiences to our community of dealers and clients.
– Anna Burgdorf, General Manager of Corporate Communications, Audi.

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If you're a technology-related business:

Showcase your brand and product in a 'live', tangible way; create richer, more interactive experiences for your consumers. Co-create, or share curated content from world class cultural innovators.

The potential audience for all the Opera House's incredible work is every Australian in the country. We want to help make this a reality. At Samsung we passionately believe technology can better people's lives, and bringing the Opera House's best-in-class arts and education content to more Australians than ever is our ultimate goal with this sponsorship.
– Arno Lenior, Australia Marketing Director, Samsung Electronics on the Samsung / Sydney Opera House partnership

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If you're a new company or a "start-up":

Continual growth relies on demand at a grassroots or community level. Involvement with arts or cultural activities that appeal to your target demographics can lead to new prospects and increase loyalty among existing advocates.

Investment in the arts is a powerful mechanism to join with others; to be quite impactful. You talk about return on investment – for there to be a good result – investment in the arts is a fantastic platform through which that can happen.
– Fiona Menzies

Beyond business?
The arts is essential
for us all.

The arts in Australia is not a luxury; it's not something that's 'nice to have'.

The arts is imperative for every Australian, and a platform to connect with all Australians: from the true-blue to the blue-blooded. Just like sport.

Like sport, the arts strengthens communities by uniting them; by bringing huge audiences together.

The private sector should support local arts and cultural organisations because that's where grass roots community engagement starts, and where people are encouraged to explore and discuss topics of interest to them. For the private sector—this is an opportunity to engage with audiences in a very direct and intimate way.
– Ella McNeal, CEO, Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.

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And like sport, the arts trains and strengthens us.

It stimulates our society with valuable ideas and experiences; it trains the most important muscles of all—the mind and the heart.

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