Increased business backing for the arts

BUSINESSES in the East of England are investing more in the arts than ever before, according to figures released by Arts & Business East.Business investment in the arts in 2006-07 grew by 12.

BUSINESSES in the East of England are investing more in the arts than ever before, according to figures released by Arts & Business East.

Business investment in the arts in 2006-07 grew by 12.3% to more £6 million, building on a 17% increase in 2005-06.

The total 2006-07 figure for private sector investment in the arts in the eastern region, including corporates, individuals, trusts and foundations, rose by 13.9% to £14.6 million.

The inflation-adjusted figures are taken from the annual Arts & Business Private Investment in Culture Survey, which draws on data from arts organisations across the UK to illustrate trends in private sector investment in the arts.

Gill Bloomfield, director of Arts & Business East, said: “The East of England used to be the Cinderella region for private investment in the arts - no longer. These figures represent strong year-on-year growth in corporate investment into our region's culture, beating the average rise across the UK and comparing well with some other UK regions where the marketplace benefits from major urban centres.

“The results show that businesses in the east have woken up to the branding, networking, people development and corporate responsibility opportunities our arts sector can offer. In an uncertain economic climate, our message to businesses is this - 'be bold and use the arts world's talent and creativity to grow your brands and your business'.”

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Jonathan Holloway, director of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, said: “Arts organisations across the region are constantly looking to create well-developed, long-term relationships with their sponsors. Take our 15 year partnership with One Railway, which recently won the Arts & Business East Sustainability Award.

“This is the perfect example of a sustainable sponsorship based on give and take, constant communication and an understanding of each others' point of view. It is that search for mutual benefit that delivers results for both parties.”

Diana Johnson, business development manager at Prettys Ssolicitors, recent winners of the Arts & Business East Brand Identity Award, added: “Having been the main literary sponsors of the Ip-Art festival, we realised there was so much more we could get out of our partnership.

“By extending our involvement into a creative writing competition, authors' talks and literary lunches, we were able to promote the Prettys brand to a much wider audience and at the same time find new ways to inspire and motivate our colleagues.”

Across the UK, total private sector investment in the arts is up 10.7% at almost £600 million, with corporate investment up 10.1% at £171.5 million, individual giving up 10.8% at £298.5 million and investment by trusts and foundations up by 11.4% to £129.49 million.