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·  18 Avril 2012 , Barcelona

Experts advocate greater cultural sponsorship by companies

The first Conference on Cultural Sponsorship and Patronage, organised by the abertis Foundation, the Department of Culture of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the MACBA Foundation was held today. Participants included Ferran Mascarell, the Generalitat's Minister for Culture; María Teresa Lizaranzu, Director General of Cultural Policy and Industries at the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport; Leopoldo Rodés, Chairman of the MACBA Foundation; and the president of abertis, Salvador Alemany.

To celebrate the International Day For Monuments and Sites, the abertis Foundation, the Generalitat's Department of Culture, and the MACBA Foundation have organised today's Conference on Cultural Sponsorship and Patronage: Visions and Innovation, held at the Castle of Castellet in Barcelona, the headquarters of the abertis Foundation.

The conference was opened by the Catalan Minister of Culture, Ferran Mascarell; the Director General of Cultural Policy and Industries at the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport, María Teresa Lizaranzu; the Chairman of the MACBA Foundation, Leopoldo Rodés; and the president of abertis, Salvador Alemany.
Ferran Mascarell, the Minister of Culture, called for "greater conviction in the economic role of culture", and argued that a "more cultured society is also more cohesive and solid". According to the Minister, in Catalonia, approximately 250,000 people work in the field of culture and some 38,000 companies have links with the sector.

Ferran Mascarell spoke of the importance of "strengthening the mixed cooperative model" when it comes to culture by combining public and private participation, a model that "has a long tradition in Catalonia". In the current economic context, "alliances between the public and private sectors will play an essential role in the future", he said.

María Teresa Lizaranzu, the Director General of Cultural Policy and Industries at the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport, highlighted the fact that her Department is working on a Patronage Act aimed at "changing the approach that is taken towards cooperation with private companies". According to the Director General, "the aim is to move away from a conventional model of providing publicly funded aid and subsidies, and towards a model based on greater participation on the part of companies and more contribution from the general public".
Leopoldo Rodés, chairman of the MACBA Foundation, stressed the importance of patronage - "despite the time we in which we currently live, culture cannot be left to one side". He also called for a different model, with more direct involvement of civil society in financing cultural institutions and activities.

Then, finally, abertis president Salvador Alemany said it was important for companies to "fulfil their commitment" and also to "focus on specific sponsorship projects" that are integrated into their corporate strategy. Salvador Alemany highlighted the Group's commitment to the preservation of historical heritage and to promoting culture, in particular that associated with areas where the company has a geographical presence".

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