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Yes, Corporations Still Fund the Arts (from Arts Watch)

Spain's Landarbaso Choir

As this title suggests, corporations ARE still funding the arts, and they’re finding creative ways to do so.

Recent funding cuts have hit mid-sized and small cities throughout the country particularly hard. This is especially true in rural and underserved areas.

Although not quite underserved/rural, Cincinnati has become a great example of how cultural events, festivals, concerts, and competitions bring visibility, income, and fun to communities throughout the country.

Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) recognizes the unique influence of the arts as well. The company has become the first major corporate sponsor for the World Choir Games 2012. The biennial choral music competition is the largest of its kind in the world and is expected to draw some 90,000 people to the Cincinnati area next summer. 

The six previous World Choir Games have reached every part of the globe, but this is the first time they will be held in North America. More than 20,000 participants from more than 70 countries worldwide will compete in 23 categories of choral music over the course of the two week event from July 4-14, 2012.

Sponsorships that have this kind of global reach are of principal interest to corporations. According to The Enquirer, both P&G and the local visitors bureau remarked on the global scope of the event:

Procter & Gamble Co. Vice Chairman – Global Operations Werner Geissler said, “This will be a historic event for Cincinnati because of the multicultural and global nature of the Games.”

Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Dan Lincoln noted, “This is the largest civic event of a global nature that we’ve ever undertaken in the region.”

Organizers hope that the opportunity for global exposure, the volume of attendees, and the support from P&G will encourage other corporations, individuals, and businesses to support the event. Differentiated support of this kind, including ticket sales, is critical if the World Choir Games hopes to meet its $10 million fundraising goal, even with the between $1-$1.5 million head start offered by P&G. Organizers also noted that they will rely heavily on in-kind contributed services such as volunteers, donated equipment, and transportation.

The World Choir Games are proof positive that the arts remain not only an economic driver, but a global unifier.

We’re curious, what kinds of arts and cultural festivals and competitions are going on in your area?

While the World Choir Games is a large-scale example, do you see opportunity for duplication in your community?

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