Our history

Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts (ABSA) founded, based on a model developed in New York by David Rockefeller. The first organisation of its kind, ABSA pioneered business sponsorship of the arts in UK, which in 1976 was worth £600,000. By 2009 that figure had risen to £686 million

Created the Arts & Business Awards in seven categories

Colin Tweedy LVO OBE becomes Chief Executive of Arts & Business

HRH The Prince of Wales becomes Patron, now President

Develops UK-wide coverage, with offices in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Launches new programme to bring business skills into the arts

Develops the largest national network for information, knowledge and skills sharing for fundraisers

Co-launches CEREC (the Comité Européen pour le Rapprochement de l’Economie et de la Culture) a pan-European body to develop national and cross-border business support of the arts

ABSA changes name to Arts & Business, and includes nine offices across the UK

Creates The Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation and raises over £1m to support it (now called The Prince of Wales Foundation for Children and the Arts)

Creates Mission, Money and Models to explore organisational and financial sustainability in the non-profit cultural sector

In its 30th anniversary year, Arts & Business has offices across six English regions and the three other UK nations, as well as 500 business members and more than 1000 arts members. It is now part of an international network of 26 organisations, many of which have been founded with its help. By 2006, Arts & Business has placed more than 5500 business people as advisors or board members in arts organisations

Creates The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy to honour five leading philanthropists

Launches Visual, an inspiring and flexible contemporary art service for business and business people

Arts & Business has worked with many of the UK’s leading cultural businesses, including BP, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Prudential, PWC, Sky, Land Securities, Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Channel 4, UBS and Unilever, to strengthen their arts engagement

Launches Young Professionals On Boards, a placement and mentoring service for under 30- year-olds mirroring its Board Bank service

Publishes PICs with online interactive map showing regional distribution and trends of Private Investment for 2008/09. Pubishes A Private Sector Policy for the Arts, our compelling framework of action to reboot and rewire the mixed arts funding economy being revised following extensive consultation. Runs the #BigArtsGive with the Big Give, an online matchfunding project, that ran througout the UK during the autumn.

Celebrates the European Year of Volunteering, running a series of match-making events between volunteers (primarily from the business sector) and arts organisations seeking help. Six events took place throughout the UK with approx 100 volunteers at each event. In addition, online voluteering listings and requests were available from our site.

Arts & Business becomes a campaign of Business in the Community.  It is constituted as a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.
Philip Spedding becomes Director of Arts & Business.

Jaguar Land Rover become headline sponsors of the Arts & Business Awards for the first time.


Arts & Business becomes Arts & Culture at Business in the Community. Ann Drew is Director of Arts & Culture.

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