Why should business support the arts?
Promoting the arts helps to improve communities and can contribute to the GDP of a nation by way of arts-related economic activity. With proper support, the arts can offer more viable career choices for those who are really meant to pursue their creative passion rather than a typical professional career - and could lead to the discovery of otherwise closeted talent. For businesses, supporting the arts can help them connect to the communities in which they are present and allows for better engagement with potential or existing customers.
Without private sector support from companies and philanthropists, the arts would not be able to flourish solely on public grants, federal or state budget appropriations - this is the stark truth globally and not just in India.
As a country still struggling to pull its masses out of poverty, India needs to spend its maximum energies on economic and social development. Even so, in our latest FY ’20 budget, the allocation to the culture ministry is dismally low, at only slightly over 0.1% of the budgeted total expenditure.
Given our rich heritage of music, dance, folklore, film, theatre, literature, art and architecture that has evolved over thousands of years, this is a travesty. The private sector must support the arts in a meaningful way by investing where the Government is unable to, either due to lack of funds or operational focus. As our country goes through a sea of change in demographics and collective memory (which is so closely linked to our sense of identity), it is important for our culture to be documented for future generations as it continually morphs to accommodate local cultural shifts and global influences.
An essential part of Brigade’s identity is that we are proudly Bangalorean. We are in the business of nation building - one community at a time, one neighbourhood at a time, one city at a time. And cities need souls as well as skyscrapers! For continued growth and success, Bengaluru needs to keep attracting talent to our city, and a dynamic arts scene is integral to the city’s appeal. There is only so much that the glorious weather can do to give Bengaluru an edge over other cities in India! Over the last two decades, Bengaluru has seen a huge influx of people from all over India, in search of economic opportunity. IME is just one way in which we can promote Bengaluru as a welcoming and inclusive community by inviting everyone to contribute to the arts.
Extending this to the country at large, by protecting our art and culture, we as Indians can be proud of what we bring to the world stage. Why shouldn’t Kalidasa be known as widely as Shakespeare of Britain, Tansen as familiar as Beethoven of Germany, Amrita Shergill as inspiring as Frida Kahlo of Mexico to people all over the world? Nothing could be more patriotic than to promote our vibrant, multi-faceted culture as a “potent source of international influence”. Aren’t we always thrilled when people in Russia, Egypt and far flung corners of the world wax eloquent about Bollywood films and music?
There is no other institution like the IME in India today, that joyfully documents and preserves the cultural heritage of our myriad different musical styles, whether classical or folk or film or pop. We are proud to have built the IME along with Government support with a grant from the Ministry of Culture as well as many private companies and individual patrons who have come together to make this dream a reality.
Trustee of the Indian Music Experience
and an Executive Director of Brigade Enterprises Ltd.