13.03.2017 17:43

There have been, and still are, some fantastic examples of combining art with corporate events, whether it is through sponsorship of an existing public exhibition, the creation of your own branded creative exhibition or bringing art into your corporate event as part of your message delivery or team building.

Here’s a few success stories


The BP Portrait Award is an annual portraiture competition held at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. It is the successor to the John Player Portrait Award. It is the most important portrait prize in the world, and is reputedly one of the most prestigious competitions in contemporary art. The Daily Mail has called it "the portraiture Oscars".

British Petroleum took over sponsorship of the competition in 1989 from John Player & Sons, a tobacco company which had sponsored it from its inception in 1980.
The exhibition opens in June each year and runs until September. First prize is typically £30,000 and its catchment area was gradually extended from residents of the UK and is now unrestricted.

A clever alignment of brand with creativity & people to help engagement and build a positive perception with the visiting general public and wider online and media audiences.


In Autumn 2014 BNP Paribas sponsored the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. As ‘the bank for a changing world’, BNP Paribas sees the arts as a fundamental way to explore and make sense of the world around us. Much of Kiefer’s work examines how history has shaped the world we live in today and the exhibition provided the ideal focus for a series of client hospitality events to facilitate business relationship-building.

Key success metrics included client afendance levels, as well as the media and markeOng value generated from the sponsorship. A critical requirement would be to build excitement in the run-up to the events, both internally and externally, so that Kiefer’s stature as a world-renowned artist could be conveyed to a highly sought-aher client audience.
Three private viewings for staff familiarised them with Kiefer’s work and helped to build up interest. Prominent branding for BNP Paribas appeared across the RA’s print, digital and outdoor advertising. Nine client events were held, enabling activation across each of BNP Paribas’ business lines in the UK. Activation focused on adding value to the client experience to create a more memorable brand impact. Each event began with a curator talk and included guided tours of the exhibition. Guests were then treated to a mulO-sensory experience with the arOst’s work brought to life at every touch-point: the food and design drew on Kiefer’s artistic materials, colour palefe and European perspective born out of his German heritage. The floral displays, serving trays and food stations incorporated materials such as branches, metal, driftwood, stone and glass.
Anselm Kiefer’s retrospective became the ‘must see’ exhibition for Autumn 2014 with positive media coverage helping to drive strong visitor numbers. Invitation take-up was strong with over 1,200 people aftending dedicated events. Importantly, guest feedback was resoundingly positive
and with creativity & people to help engagement and build a positive perception with the visiting general public and wider online and media audiences.


Italian beer brand Peroni Nastro Azzurro is bringing its House of Peroni back to London from 15-18 March, and will invite guests inside for an immersive art-themed experience.Guests will be able to immerse themselves in a virtual world, which aims to blend art and technology together. They will be able to experience art with virtual reality (VR) allowing them to step inside the artwork before exploring their own arOsOc creaOvity using innovaOve technology from Tilt Brush by Google.The brand has commissioned three arOsts to create pieces around the theme of 'craftmanship', designed to reflect the Peroni brand message. VR technology will allow guests to step inside the pieces of art, and explore their own artistic talent using the Tilt Brush under the guidance of an expert.Participants will also receive a complimentary Peroni Nastro Azzurro or infusion from the menu, as well as a signed print from their artist host and a digital keepsake of their own artwork sent to them to share on social media.

Featured artists include Fabio Giampietro, winner of the Lumen Prize for digital art in 2016; British artist Carne Griffiths, who specialises in embroidery, and Italian artist Peeta, who uses Venetian ‘Murano’ glassware as his muse.  Taking place in London's Soho, the space will also feature a bar and aperitivo area where guests can enjoy an evening with friends over a Peroni Nastro Azzurro, try one of the brand's infusions and a selection of antipasti. Chef Francesco Mazzei has been given the role of 'Master of Taste', and will be on hand to cook up Southern Italian inspired treats for guests.  (Event Magazine) 


Aligning your corporate brand with an Arts centric venue or initiative offers you wide selection of artistic activities with a related range of audiences. Often referred to as supporters, corporates can benefit from a flexible choice of participation, engagement and promotion.
By working together on projects from inception to delivery both the venue and the corporate can help shape their outcomes to fit their target audiences.

For example, the Barbican in London offers corporate organisations a diverse range of engagement covering off many of the that organisation’s objectives. For example for CSR and philanthropic objectives, the Barbican can offer diverse engagement opportunities. 
Events for staff, clients or stakeholders – from school visits to student visits to your offices
Acknowledgment across Barbican marketing and communications
Dedicated content for your CR communications
Staff volunteering programme
Incorporating business related themes in project development
Staff workshops with artists / mentors 

Or classic Corporate Membership which provides a variety of exciting opportunities to entertain clients and to reward employees. Corporate Members enjoy unrivalled access to one of London’s most diverse artistic programmes. 

Create truly outstanding events such as a private view in one of the art galleries, an exclusive cinema screening or a reception in the conservatory before a concert or performance.screening or a reception in the conservatory before a concert or performance. 

Staff receive discounted and free tickets, family offers, access to the members lounge, the private members bar, invitations to special occasions and reducOons on food and drink in the three restaurants. Business Membership includes exclusive rates on hire of conference spaces, screening rooms and business event facilities. 

Corporate Members are recognised across the Barbican, in printed materials and online.


Helping you unleash creativity and innovation for your clients or colleagues. At PopUp Painting they believe in the power of creativity, both as a beneficial activity to personal well-being and as vital support to businesses and organisations to stay innovative and ahead of the game. They provide a variety of events to help your team develop their creative skills and to achieve their personal and organisational potential.

As a Pop-Up company, they can operate anywhere that suits you. Whether that’s in your office, venue, a bar or restaurant (which they can find for you!), and whether that’s in London or beyond. A particularly interesting offering from their portfolio is their new Street Art Workshops which are perfect for team building. Work with experienced street artists and unleash your creativity in locations across London! Ideal for teams of ten to twenty.

So there you have just a few example tactics of Art as a corporate brand building strategy. If you feel like it I can highly recommend the new Netflix series ABSTRACT, a collection of documentaries exploring design across various applications. You’ll probably be really interested in the episode about stage/set designer Es Devlin. Check out her videos here. 

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