Ways of see­ing

The busi­ness land­scape is be­ing changed through the pos­i­tive im­pact of art in the work­place, writes Colin Card­well

The Herald Business - - Art In Business -

ART and busi­ness have gone to­gether like oil and can­vas at least since the days of the High Re­nais­sance – but the pal­ette has changed rad­i­cally since the Duke of Mi­lan reached into his back pocket to keep Leonardo da Vinci on side. More re­cently, the found­ing of the Cour­tauld In­sti­tute of Art in the 1930s brought pol­i­tics and se­ri­ous in­dus­trial mus­cle to­gether to wrest art away from the priv­i­leged rich.

It’s a con­cept that has been con­tin­ued and ex­tended by Arts & Busi­ness Scot­land, which ear­lier this month cel­e­brated its 20th an­niver­sary with Art in the Work­place, an ex­hi­bi­tion in Glas­gow’s Cly­des­dale Bank Ex­change build­ing that drew to­gether works rang­ing from land­scapes by James McIn­tosh Pa­trick to a Ge­orge Wyl­lie bronze and a ta­pes­try by Ann Gillies.

For Bar­clay Price, di­rec­tor of Arts & Busi­ness Scot­land, hav­ing art in the of­fice, can­teen or fac­tory is not just purely dec­o­ra­tive. “It’s a pos­i­tive fac­tor in staff morale and an ef­fec­tive way to em­pha­sise the qual­ity of a com­pany’s brand and, po­ten­tially, a sound fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment.”

While the big Scot­tish banks and whisky com­pa­nies have a long her­itage of ac­quir­ing, spon­sor­ing and pro­mot­ing art, Art in the Work­place in­cluded pieces owned by a PR firm, a fork­lift truck sup­plier and a ho­tel group – dis­prov­ing the idea, says Price, that busi­ness is not will­ing to sup­port art at the cut­ting edge. “It’s be­gin­ning to recog­nise the ben­e­fits that art can have, as part of its cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity,” he says.

With money from the Scot­tish Ex­ec­u­tive and the Scot­tish Arts Coun­cil (UK-wide Arts & Busi­ness turns £6m of gov­ern­ment money into more than £100m worth of sup­port for the arts) there is a clear im­per­a­tive to con­vince the wider busi­ness world that art can speak their lan­guage and ef­fec­tively deal with lo­gis­tics, project man­age­ment and even the rather cru­cial de­tail of in­sur­ance. The mes­sage, it seems, is get­ting across: Price points out that mem­ber­ship has risen by 40% in the past six months. Truly, the art of the pos­si­ble.

From left to right, clock­wise: Main pic­ture: The Fin­nan Car­rier, John Bel­lany Bur­ness The Fes­ti­val Fire­works, Alice Shaw Bank Of Scot­land Se­cret Un­cle, Michael Hill John­son El­phin­stone Group Hills and a val­ley, An­gus, James Mor­ri­son William Grant & Sons Con­ver­sa­tion Piece 1, John Brazenall Tur­can Con­nell

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