Unlocking funding to support cultural industries in South Africa

The performance titled “Inside”, choreographed and performed by Muzi Shili of South African dance company Moving Into Dance Mophatong. Performed at the 2011 Dance Umbrella festival in Johannesburg. Photo Credit: John Hogg

As a non-profit company promoting arts partnerships, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) recognized that art practitioners, organizations and businesses needed better tools to support the arts. In response, BASA developed an arts sponsorship project and toolkit to enable the business community and cultural industries to develop beneficial and sustainable relationships.

For companies considering investing in the arts, the toolkit provides a step-by-step guide as well as exercises to craft a complementary relationship. Toolkit creator, Michael Goldman, explained, “it is designed to develop a company’s capabilities to plan, manage and execute more effective art sponsorships.”

A Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, Mr Goldman said that enhanced sponsorship management practices “can provide a business with a set of distinct capabilities that offers an additional source of competitive advantage”.

At a series of workshops in May 2012, the toolkit was presented to small, medium and large corporations in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. More than 100 people attended the workshops. “This was a very valuable exercise”, said Marketing Manager Desiree Pooe, “and we look forward to contributing for the greater benefit of the industry.”

It is the first time that business has been offered a means to actively leverage their relationship with the arts in South Africa. At Capvest Wealth Management, Tim Roberts affirmed, “I found the ideas Michael suggested very useful, and I look forward to using the workshop toolkit” to support the art sector.

BASA-sponsored research by Artstrack has revealed a 5% growth in arts funding since 2009, thanks in part to BASA’s promotion. The research will be repeated in 2014 and include questions on the toolkit’s efficiency. The project also produced an initial baseline report on business arts funding in South Africa as a first step to creating the toolkit.

BASA also hopes to put into action a policy document that would stimulate tax incentives for the arts, create infrastructures and improve access to funding. The organisation will continue to facilitate regional workshops on improving arts sponsorships such as the one held in Zimbabwe in May 2012.

The value of the arts in society has been highlighted by the project, and business sponsorship has been facilitated and encouraged. BASA’s aim is to drive sustainable development and poverty reduction by supporting skills development for artists and businesses by enabling complementary partnerships.

Lucy Reyburn of the renowned Spier Wine Estate enterprise said: “The Toolkit is ground-breaking, and will make a huge difference as we prepare marketing budgets for this year. We believe in supporting the arts, and are now able to provide a more rigorous approach in doing so.”

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