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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution
(1968)

Hoover, Richard
Book reviews: usufruct,   pp. 344-[347] PDF (3.0 MB)


Page 345

by heart by any art group that is
intending to apply to corporations for
funds. The following chapter, "The
Dialogue and Dilemma of Social
Responsibility," also contains material
which I consider to be of great value
to those who would look to corporations
for financial help.
There is no question that a primary
responsibility of corporations'
management is to turn a profit for the
stockholders. Neither is there any
doubt that many stockholders would
prefer that management have no
other interests. A very conservative
viewpoint would be that a corporation
serves the community best by sticking
to its knitting and providing maximum
employment through profitable operations.
But as Professor Eells points out, the
corporations historically began taking
an interest in affairs other than those
related to the operations of the company
during the First World War and have
expanded their support and interest in
education, medical and other welfare
problems of their respective communities
with increasing vigor in the recent
years. This sense of responsibility for
the world around them has only
recently extended into the world of
arts in terms of support for projects not
directly related to promotional or
public relations operations.
Professor Eells says emphatically and
frequently that the relationship
between corporations and the arts
should not be conceived as a one-way
street. There is a tendency in our
society to minimize the corporation's
role in giving, in the sense that it is
usually thought of as one in which the
corporation simply reacts favorably or
unfavorably to a proposal, and, if
the former, it hands over the money
without further ado. The fact is that this
kind of cut-and-dried relationship is not
likely to be very productive or viable.
Certainly some funds will be made
available on a charitable basis because
of the personal interest of a corporate
officer or for some other reason that
makes it expedient to think in terms
of outright donations. But the
healthiest relationship is one wherein
the corporation comes to view the
artistic goals of the donee as contributing
to its own larger goal of stimulating
an expansion of thought, understanding,
and cultural development.
A criticism of Professor Eell's work
might be that he makes too few
specific suggestions.  He writes in
broad generalities, few of which are
arguable, but the practical problems
are largely ignored. To anyone who
has had experience in the corporation-
arts relationship, the path to corporate
support often seems very much like
an obstacle course.
The author hints at some of the
problems, though he points out that
enabling legislation has been passed
which removes most of the legal barriers
which in times past might have prevented
or discouraged such associations. About
as specific as he gets is in referring
to the corporation as "a user of the arts,
a promoter of talent, and employer
of the resources of art institutions."
In spite of the lack of specific
suggestions, Professor Eell's work
undoubtedly has great value simply in
helping to weight future conversations
on art with the business community. In
summary he says, " . . . today arts,
science, humanistics and business are
sitting around the same table - and they
are actually enjoying the experience."
Editorial Note:
It is pertinent to note that, under the
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