September 2023: Philanthropy & the Arts


Artists seek to share their ideas with a public, and the audience experience with art is at the heart of the philanthropic motivation in the cultural sector. This exchange between art and audience develops art and enriches society.

Our sector in Canada works within a hybrid revenue model of market and subsidy. While some argue that art can pay for itself, reliance on market alone can restrict artistic outcomes. Adding funding support to arts revenue frees artistic choice contributing to liberty of expression and a healthy democracy.

In the US, market and philanthropy dominate arts revenue, and in Europe, public funding is fundamental. In contrast to both traditions, Canadian arts organizations manage a paradoxical blend of market, philanthropy and public funding, suggesting that unique managerial skills are required. This balancing act is complex since audience responses are unpredictable and public funding is not always reliable. Understanding how this model links audiences to philanthropy is key to optimising this combination.

We consider five themes in this issue. First, we explore the value of art and its philanthropic support. Second, we debate issues arising from an evolving trend called art for social change. Third, we investigate philanthropic strategies deployed in the arts in Canada. Fourth, we share the experiences of collegial learning groups who pursue an understanding of sector-specific philanthropic practice. Finally, we offer narratives from international and historic voices about arts philanthropy.

Enjoy your reading!

Editorial: The Balancing Act of Cultural Philanthropy, by Wendy Reid, HEC Montréal, Quebec Hub

Value of art and cultural philanthropy

Art for Social Change – Art, the rhetoric of effects and funding support

Strategizing philanthropy in the arts

Learning Cultural philanthropy

International Voices



PhiLab Podcast To Give or Not to Give with Taiwo Afolabi






Philanthropie in Action with Barry Cole