Arts Group Names the Top 10 U.S. Companies Supporting Culture
Source:Artinfo.com Date: 2010-10-23 Size:
As governments around the world scramble to cover massive budget deficits, many politicians are choosing to slash support for arts organizations, as British leaders did earlier this week when it announced staggering cuts for its state-run culture arm.

 

NEW YORK—As governments around the world scramble to cover massive budget deficits, many politicians are choosing to slash support for arts organizations, as British leaders did earlier this week when it announced staggering cuts for its state-run culture arm. With their American counterparts expected to follow suit in coming months, private donors — including major companies — are becoming increasingly important, which can lead to controversy. Now the advocacy group Americans for the Arts has assembled a list of the top 10 companies in the United States that supported the arts in 2009.

Among the groups making the list are a sextet of energy companies Conoco Phillips, Con Edison, Northeast Utilities, Devon Energy, Halifax EMC, and Portland General Electric. The Los Angeles Times notes that the practice of giving money to cultural organizations has "long been a means of soul-cleansing for American business," and that would certainly seem to be true in the case of Conoco, which has agreed to pay millions of dollars to cover the cost of cleaning up environmental damage it caused in Louisiana.

The L.A. paper notes that many of the donations constitute the tiniest fraction of the companies' annual profits. In fact, the patronage is often the equivalent of cheap advertising. Conoco, for instance, donated $3 million to cultural groups, a sum that represents less than one-half of one percent of the profits it made on the year. The funds are also miniscule compared to the donations made by leading individual philanthropists to the arts in recent years, such as Leonard Lauder's $131 million gift in 2008 to the Whitney Museum of American Art, or the $15 million matching program that Eli Broad proposed in 2008 for the Los Angles Museum of Contemporary Art.

According to Americans for the Arts, the 10 companies that support the arts the most are the following, in alphabetical order:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

  • Capital Bank, Raleigh, N.C.

  • Con Edison, New York

  • Conoco Phillips, Houston

  • Devon Energy Corp., Oklahoma City

  • Halifax EMC, Enfield, N.C.

  • M.C. Ginsberg Jewelers and Objects of Art, Iowa City, Iowa

  • Northeast Utilities, Hartford, Conn.

  • Portland General Electric, Portland, Ore.

  • Strata-G Communications, Cincinnati

[Editor] Elemy Liu

    Artintern