Shri Kalyan Bose

"It takes art to make a country great... it also takes art to make a company great"   - From a Philip Morris advertising series

Art and patronage need not be necessarily mismatched. Today art is more than dependant on corporate support than ever before thereby creating an invisible bonding between the arts and their partrons.

From the olden times. Art (music being its integral part) has been the passion of popular Kings and Monarchs. It survived and prospered with their patronage. In fact the prosperity in a kingdom was judged from the music sung by the masses. In the medieval period rulers like the Mughals were intelligent enough to understand the importance of music. Unfortunately, this support was lost under the British rule and was left to the Princely states, Zamindars and wealthy merchants to provide for its sustenance.

After independence the corporate houses stepped in with the their own set of motives, like, building corporate image and subtle advertisements of their products. But to some of them their altruistic motive assumed the connotation of "Social responsibility", the logic being that no corporate can exist in a society without being a part of it. However humble its role may seem in the totality of things, it still makes that little difference for the better, that can count for a lot to many.

Corporate sponsorship is just one way of making that difference. Certainly there are other organisations, such as the Tatas, the Birlas and the ITCs who have shown that they can make a difference.

Since a corporate has more power to contribute to society's well-being and development. it must choose, consciously, its own role that it can best adopt and execute. Some of them consciously concentrate on the cultural aspect of social service, since in a country as large and diverse as India, the one thing that cuts across all barriers is her cultural heritage. That is among the biggest things that bind her together.

Ultimately neither traditions nor its funding is proved to be incompatible. In fact, the sponsored shows have demonstrated the art of fetching mileage discreetly. The inexorable shift of focus from immediate gains and sponsoring has been altered into a fostering of friendship through festivals and foundations.

(Kalyan Bose is currently Director, Western Region, at Indo American Chamber of Commerce. He is also Chairperson Mumbai Chapter of SPIC MACAY. He has to his credit several articles on Art and Cultural in numerous magazines)

1999-2003 Best Viewed in 640x480