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A new report says private investment in culture has fallen. How would you encourage businesses to invest in art and design?

The cultural industries must be assertive and entrepreneurial about fundraising, engaging our existing donors and seeking out new ones, as well as finding people who will provide philanthropic leadership. Any audience can become a community of supporters – we must create communities, bringing them into the fold and offering them the opportunity to engage. The Government can also help to increase philanthropy in support of the arts through tax incentives and by helping to recognise those who give.

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Serpentine Gallery

Business leaders of all kinds already know that investing in creativity is vital. But old-fashioned art and design patronage – or ’sponsorship’ as it’s called these days – is a complete waste of their money. Instead, businesses need to invest time, energy and yes, some cash, in art and design in clever new ways, that genuinely involve, influence and inspire the creativity of their people – not hang another Damien Hirst on the wall of the executive tearoom.

Ian Stephens, Principal, Saffron Brand Consultants

When football fan/artist LS Lowry’s latest painting sells at auction in May, predictions are that it will get a record £4.5m – a million miles away from the working class football scene it depicts. I think we need to democratise art and design funding; too much private and public investment has been stuck in a top-down paradigm. Thankfully, this is changing, through crowd-funded platforms like www.kickstarter.com and www.etsy.com we are seeing a new pandemic of micro-investment that is changing the rules of the game.

Andrea Siodmok, Programme director, Dott Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

It’s sad that so much business has become myopic about finance. I think that designers could influence those who lead the businesses we work for by contributing to culture ourselves, on a small scale, by supporting theatre and sponsoring exhibitions. Unfortunately, narrow-minded programmes like Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice don’t help. They portray business as mean, grasping and self-serving. If we get our own muscles of participating and giving flexing again, then maybe our clients will do so too.

Michael Wolff, Founder, Michael Wolff & Company

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