Australian arts industry veteran and founder of Cluster Arts, Debbie Wilks is calling on Australian businesses to add sponsorship and support of Australian arts organisations to their brand mix instead of just focusing on the more common areas such as sport. If anyone knows the arts sector, it is Debbie Wilks. Her company is one of only two organisations in the country that works with Australian artists, circuses and stage shows to assist them to showcase and tour their productions across Australia and overseas.
"Australia's arts sector is considered one of the best in the world," said Ms Wilks today.
"Some of our stage shows and human circuses are spending more time out of Australia touring overseas than they are performing in Australia. Our artists and stage productions are considered the best in the world.
"Other countries are poaching our talent on a daily basis.
"It is a reach shame that our artists often don't get the exposure they need and deserve.
"Australian businesses need to step up to the plate and start recognising and supporting the talent we have here in Australia.
"Because we are traditionally a very sporting nation, and sports tend to get a lot of coverage, many corporates and businesses do not look any further than sport when investing in the community. But the arts sector offers extraordinary value for businesses.
"Artists bring people together, they lift audiences, they provide a sense of escape from the stress of life, and they often focus on some of the most important issues facing communities in a way that brings a valued and tempered voice to the discussion.
"Like sporting events, the arts sector also offers significant branding and community engagement opportunities. Some stage shows tour across the country for months at a time, visiting rural and regional towns.
"Quite a number of shows offer businesses the opportunity to buy dedicated VIP seating, have their branding on marketing materials and even have their branding discreetly incorporated into the show. They also offer to undertake backstage tours to see the set and meet the artists. These are experiences that money can buy and it also helps to support the artists.
"The problem is that artists typically are not good at selling themselves however we are seeing a new breed of artists coming into the arts sector that are switched on and they are keen to engage with the business community.
"I strongly encourage businesses to look to the arts instead of, or as well as sport.
"Across the arts and entertainment sector, 18.38 million tickets were sold to live performance events in Australia in 2015. People are attending performance events, so there is no excuse for the business sector not to be seeing the sector as a brand building opportunity."
Cluster Arts assists the arts sector and also works with businesses to help them to find the right fit for sponsorship and community partnerships.