The art of sustainability

THE future of arts sponsorship lies in the industry’s ability to add-value and create sustainability, according to Craftwest Centre for Contemporary Art director Lynda Dorrington.

The comments follow the launch of the Designing Futures initiative, which aims to foster the long-term needs of the fine wood and studio furniture sector within the WA timber industry.

Ms Dorrington’s focus on nurturing design and building a value-added business has successfully secured a $800,000 budget for the three-year project, with the main contributors being from the corporate sector.

The project will consist of an industry forum, international exhibition program, design consultation, training packages in business, marketing and design, international residency program, mentor programs, and market research.

Wesfarmers was one of the first sponsors of the initiative and managing director

Michael Chaney said the business-like approach to the arts program attracted his company’s sponsorship dollars.

And while Designing Futures has obvious corporate citizen-ship value for Wesfarmers, especially in relation to the emotionally charged timber debate, Mr Chaney said it was a decision made on the project’s design initiative.

“It was a decision made on the design aspect rather than the timber aspect,” he said.

“The sponsorship is for the prospect to enhance WA design skills and enhancing the opportunities within the industry.” Wesfarmers is contributing $75,000 over two years.

The emphasis on industry development has also won backing from the Minister of State Development, Tourism and Small Business Clive Brown, who has provided $83,000 to the project.

“It’s really about finding creative uses for resources, especially for the timber industry, and value adding. There is no better way to value add than what this project is doing,” Mr Brown said.

Ms Dorrington is hoping to make this project a model to be used across other industries, including ceramics and glass.

In order for Ms Dorrington to prove the project’s worth, she has secured the services, in sponsorship form, of Market Equity.

Market Equity managing director Brent Stewart said the research would be integral to determining the success of the project and to determine if it could be applied to other industry sectors.

“Designing Futures is very much about developing industry clusters and encouraging collaboration.

Obviously for that to be replicable you need to tangiblise and demonstrate its success,” he said.

“The arts industry often fails in its ability to attract sponsor-ship because it doesn’t take a pragmatic approach.”

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