Patrons are welcomed or investments into art

The art market greatly resembles the financial industry: both have their own investment players and long term prospects

The art market greatly resembles the financial industry: both have their own investment players and long term prospects.

Boris Svetlov, Culture Minister
Last year, over a hundred people contributed to our fund. Of course, the amount given is not the key thing. Happily, our business culture is developing simultaneously with our art culture. Our partners understand that it’s impossible to progress in achieving material goals without support.

It’s only recently that our rich countrymen began viewing art as a form of investment, although the traditions of patronage originated in Belarus several hundred years ago. In 2015, patrons injected Br50bn into the cultural sphere. As Culture Minister Boris Svetlov said before the Belarus’ Cultural Patrons awards ceremony, “This sum would have been enough to shoot five feature films or complete the necessary work on the reconstruction of Belarusfilm.” The event took place at the Gorky Theatre — to award and congratulate the representatives of major companies and businesses which annually render sponsor aid to our museums, theatres and festivals. This year, over a hundred people allocated financial assistance to culture; among them are companies, organisations and individuals who’ve significantly contributed to the support and strengthening of art in all its forms.

Shura Vergunov jokes for the guests 

In recent years, private businesses are attentive to culture

Interestingly, patrons — when asked about their help from the point of view of the economy — assert that art should not be viewed as a financial investment. Culture is not a sphere that brings quick profits. Patronage for most of these people is not the whim of rich financiers, but a contribution to the preservation of the rich traditions of our historical heritage and the promotion of cultural appreciation in modern times.

Last year, money was invested in the TEART International Forum of Theatre Art, the Yuri Bashmet Festival, the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk Festival of Arts (which used almost 70 percent sponsor aid), the Alexandriya Gathers Friends holiday, the International Christmas Opera Forum and a dozen other equally interesting and important projects.

Artistes from the Maxim Gorky Theatre, Veronika Plyashkevich and Inna Savenkova, 
entertain honoured guests

The Bolshoi Theatre has long been a leader regarding the number of its friends and partners. It has enjoyed strong ties with Belvnesheconombank for six years and, owing to this co-operation, the International Christmas Opera Forum was made possible. The Bolshoi Theatre’s General Director, Vladimir Gridyushko, stresses, “We are equal partners with our sponsors. These are not one-sided relations when one party simply opens a purse full of money and the other side thanks them. In turn, the theatre renders certain services related to advertising. We give back as much value as we get.”

Bolshoi Theatre Director Vladimir Gridyushko (left)

The Director of the Modern Art Centre, Natalia Sharangovich, comments, “In 2015, the Centre’s partners injected over $30,000 in art projects, with the Alpha-Bank supporting two major initiatives: The Art-Islands project and the Minsk Forum of Street Theatre.” In turn, Bank VTB supported the Artist and the City exhibition in Minsk’s Yakub Kolas Square. “We are now working on a new major exhibition project: Everything was Different. Talks with partners are underway and we hope the Year of Culture, taking place across the country in 2016, would be a good impetus,” she added.

By Yuliana Leonovich

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