J. Sedfrey Santiago
INNOVATING ON THE ROLE OF ART AND CULTURE IN CORPORATIONS: THE CASE OF BELLAS ARTES PROJECTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
There are many reasons why people collect; and these reasons are articulated by various theories coming from different disciplines. For corporations, the motivations for amassing artworks are explained quite differently. First, according to Yoon and Shin, is the need to achieve legitimacy by engaging in “desirable corporate behavior” like patronage of the arts. Another is to strengthen relationships with the company’s stakeholders, by making the collection accessible to the public through corporate museums. A third reason is business strategy – the use of the art collection to differentiate the company from others in an industry where the services are more or less generic. It is quite clear that the common goal of the three reasons is to project the company’s image, and corporate art collections are an investment that not only has a financial return, but also serve the business’ sustainability. Thus, the creation of museums by corporations may at first blush seem to be part of the company’s CSR, specifically sharing their art collection with the public but in truth is essentially part of their marketing strategy. Examples of such private museums are Ayala Museum, Lopez Museum, and Yuchengco Museum that are situated right next to the business of the corporations that support them, and which business are controlled by families – the Ayalas, Lopezes, and the Yuchengcos respectively. The Bellas Artes Projects whose mission is to support “the foundation of contemporary artists, providing a space of experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration with Filipino heritage building and craft techniques mainly through residencies on its campus at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar” is different from the foregoing examples of the Ayalas, Lopezes, and the Yuchengcos as 1) it is not located near the business of the Acuzar family (such as its mixed-use condominium buildings), 2) the programs of Bellas Artes Projects draw on the competencies of the family business – construction; and 3) Bellas Artes Projects is supported in part by The Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, which is itself an art and culture enterprise, being a recreated town of restored Spanish-Filipino houses established in the province of Bataan by businessman Jose Acuzar, who is the father of Bellas Artes Projects’ founder, Jam Acuzar. This paper probes on the case of Bellas Artes Projects; i.e., its exact nature, and how it specifically relates to the family corporation.