Arts & Business chief executive Colin Tweedy has leapt to the defence of the financial sector after Michael Lynch, the outgoing head of the Southbank Centre, criticised the city for its failure to support the arts through sponsorship.
In an Evening Standard interview on April 16, Lynch – who is returning to Australia – is quoted as saying that cash-rich city firms should have done more to back worthy causes when times were good. With a few exceptions such as Shell and JP Morgan, he said: “Corporate Britain, in my view, let down the side. They need a sense of values.”
It isn’t the first time Lynch has taken a swipe at city firms. But Tweedy believes his comments are out of order: “We like and admire Michael Lynch. This attack is misplaced though and he risks damaging future cultural investment. Arts & Business research proves that London has seen a 22% increase in private investment in culture to £477.5 million. The sector has “coughed up” a lot as individuals and as businesses. We have a lot to thank them for.”
Tweedy says it is “too easy to be critical of the failings of corporate givers and not focus on the contribution they have made and continue to make. Culture needs to keep our friends in business more than ever. Corporate Britain is not letting the side down; businesses could do more, but let’s thank them for what they are doing. Kicking them is not the answer. We will miss you Michael, have a great time in Australia – but remember that we have to live here!”