Corporate Social Responsibility and the Arts


Research Abstract
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Arts

Corporate social responsibility therefore is perceived by Berman as an effort in part to perpetuate broadly accepted values and mores. When the objective conflicts with the sometimes disturbing, even socially unacceptable values reflected in a work of art, a curious tension results. Most of the time, nobody notices, or at least little attention is paid in public. Perhaps few people really care what a work is saying. Or, as is possible in the case of Major Barbara, the passage of time has rendered the work safe for modern audiences. To the corporate sponsor, such audiences are seen as customers or potential customers whose good will and case it is trying to attract; they are not seen as a cluster of sensitive individuals who are encouraged to respond fully to the experience of the actual work. These sponsors are eager for their message to reach as wide an audience as possible, and this can be accomplished in two ways; by the presentation of the corporate name, product or graphic image to the public, and by association with and the advancement of things that are widely thought to be socially and culturally good.

A dilemma lies in this last means of corporate advancement. It would be unthinkable for a corporation to associate itself with art or a production of poor quality, yet there are those who argue that corporate sponsorship contributes to the decline of art. (p. 24)



Bloch, Max
December, 1988