29/07/2010 - 00:00

WAAPA of a sponsorship challenge

29/07/2010 - 00:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

AS an arts education institute, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University is widely recognised for its elite courses and well-credentialed alumni.

AS an arts education institute, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University is widely recognised for its elite courses and well-credentialed alumni.

And while WAAPA boasts an ex-students list that includes successful movie and musical theatre performers, it is surprising to learn the academy receives little if any support from corporate sponsors.

The academy currently operates using the funds it receives through state and federal governments, and support from partners such as the Regal Theatre and local councils including the City of Stirling and the City of Wanneroo.

WAAPA director Julie Warn told WA Business News that, while WAAPA was ready to engage with corporate sponsors and in need of the support, nurturing sponsor relationships was often difficult given the many other requirements of the organisation.

“If we had more (human) resources, we would be freed up more to go out and seek some good matches in the corporate sector, I am sure there are people out there who would like that alignment,” Ms Warn said.

WAAPA was in somewhat of a bind, she said, needing to continue its public relations efforts to attract sponsorship, but not having the resources to then go after the sponsorship itself.

“You need the marketing and the PR and advertising, to make sure you have the profile that would then attract any kind of support; you can’t lose out on that because it makes it less attractive,” Ms Warn said.

“Sponsorship has got to be a partnership. It is no good saying, ‘this company should give us money because we are good at what we do’. You have to work on a partnership and it has got to have reciprocal benefits.”

Not having a sponsorship support structure creates difficulties for WAAPA in terms of funding what lies outside that covered under the state and federal government-funding model.

“Most of the resources in an educational institution go in to the education of the students,” Ms Warn said.

WAAPA has a contingency plan for generating support without the number of people they need on the ground.

“We are working closely with our board to see if they can help leverage any support and that would be a good thing, we are working more closely with the university to see if through its corporate communications, the alumni area could help WAAPA leverage some more support too,” Ms Warn said.

“I think we are going to have to increase our external revenue. At the moment we have been able to do that through performing off campus at places like the Regal Theory.

“I think there are an awful lot of corporate organisations in WA that could look at sponsoring WAAPA quite differently to how they might sponsor Black Swan or the Art Gallery or anything else, I think there is room for both. In fact I am certain of it, we have just got to go out and find those people who want to do it.”

While there is an existent need at WAAPA for funding, Ms Warn is selective with regard to the partnerships the academy forms.

“You shouldn’t just throw money at the arts, I don’t believe in that; we have got to stick to the core of what we do. We have got to tailor the activities that sponsors want us to do to our core business. Sometimes that is not an easy fit,” she said.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options