Wesfarmers has supported the arts in Australia for more than three decades.
Our engagement in the cultural life of the community embraces our long-term support for a wide range of premier performing and visual arts organisations and the ongoing development of The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art.
From rare watercolours of the earliest years of European settlement, to the art of today across painting, photography, sculpture and digital media, The Wesfarmers Collection reflects the diversity of creative Australia through the work of our country’s defining artists. During the year, we shared works from our collection with museums and galleries throughout Australia and online via Instagram, Facebook and the Wesfarmers Art Collection app, available free from the Appstore here.
In 2018 the Wesfarmers Arts sponsorship program provided $3.3 million in support of the activities of 14 leading arts organisations, including the National Gallery of Australia, Perth Festival, Art Gallery of Western Australia, West Australian Ballet, West Australian Opera, West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), Black Swan Theatre Company, Co3 Contemporary Dance, Awesome Children’s Festival, Form Contemporary Craft and Design, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, through the nationally touring ACO Collective, as well as the Western Australian tours of Bell Shakespeare Company and Musica Viva Australia.
A highlight of our Indigenous arts engagement is the commitment we make to respecting and supporting Indigenous culture through our relationships with the National Gallery of Australia and new partner, Yirra Yaakin Aboriginal Theatre. Wesfarmers Arts was the Presenting Partner of the National Gallery of Australia's Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial. This landmark exhibition brought the works of 30 contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country into the national spotlight.
In 2018, we celebrated milestone 20-year anniversaries with two of our long standing national arts partners: Bell Shakespeare Company and Musica Viva Australia and two Western Australian flagship arts companies: WASO and West Australian Opera. New research into international models of arts philanthropy has identified Wesfarmers’ partnership with WASO to be the most long standing, ongoing relationship between a corporate entity and an orchestra anywhere in the world.
The depth and longevity of our partnerships in the arts received recognition in July 2017, with Wesfarmers Arts announced as the winner of two Western Australian State Arts Partnership Honours and an award for Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility in the 2017 AIM Pinnacle Awards.