Corporate Failure

The practice of commissioning an artist to create a piece of work, whether that work is to commemorate an event; celebrate the accomplishment of an individual, or group, or as a gift, has been losing currency, victim it would appear, of the culture of the nouveau riche, whose taste and appreciation is to be measured by designer handbags, scarves, jewelry, electronic gadgets, dresses, and shoes. Whilst stopping way short of embracing things Cultural, uplifting, and or educational.
We are in and have embraced the age of silliness and have espoused all to embrace the fatuous, in music, lifestyle, and values. Sacrificed values and attitudes, to embrace conspicuous consumption. To suit our fans and followers, on Social Media. Gone are such ‘old-fashion’ concepts as shame, modesty, decency, care, or even concern. There is no care or concern, unless, of course, it is recorded and posted for likes.

The birth of social media and the techno age killed a lot of social moral practices, protocols, and sadly several industries/businesses. One glaring example of the tech and social media age, killing businesses, is the death of the photography and camera businesses. Cameras are no longer, a requirement; as is the traditional photographer. As everyone with a smartphone tablet or some other handheld device has made the Camera and Photographer, outdated relics of a seemingly long-gone era. And in time the Paparazzi will be just as outdated as his camera. The Paparazzi will be followed by the Journalists, especially photo journalists and the traditional media sources, they represent, as everyone with a smartphone is ‘their’ own paparazzi and citizen journalist.
Another dying industry is that of traditional Art, such as painting, drawing, sculpting hosting exhibitions, and commissioning works. In a few more years, based on growing trends, the emerging movers and shakers will deem these indulgences as passe, and not worth their time, effort, and or resources, and will abandon them on the dustbin of technology, to be replaced by 3-D generated serigraphs, portraits, and or even ‘sculpted-images’.
The downside is, we might no longer be gifted with “Masterpieces” as we know them, as the human input in creativity, will be reduced to that of merely manipulating graphs and graphics on a computer screen, to produce techno-art, that will be the rage.
There’s an upside to this tho, as Traditional art, will be the rage in some circles as the new Collector’s items. A new class of Art Snobs will appear to counter the nouveau riche, movement. And thus, in all probability, breathe new, possibly insurgent life, in ‘Old-School’ Art, Artistry, and its Value.
Which begs the question: Will Corporations Go to the Computer Artists, to Generate Commissions, or will they go to the traditional artists, for new Commissions?
Back in the day, Corporations such as Mutual Life, The ICD Group of Companies the Matalon Family; The Paul Chen-Young, Group, and Paul Chen-Young himself; were just a few of the leading Corporations and Citizens of the Cultured class, who not only supported the Arts, Artists, and the industry, by Commissioning leading and young Artists showing potential, to create works for their Hallways, Boardrooms, Conference Rooms, and Homes. They made supporting the Arts, Artists, and Cultural endeavours, A corporate charge.
Sadly, as these men and women have transitioned, their corporate successors, have never displayed the curiosity, penchant, and or awareness to follow in the footsteps or embrace the concept of interdependency, which motivated some of the trailblazers who realized that in building Corporations and Fortunes, unless there was a corresponding investment in the Country as a whole, then their personal investments would not be secure. And so as they invested in their own Corporation, they also invested in the Country, by facilitating the development of a vibrant Art Culture, via direct and indirect Subventions, Scholarships, Commissions and Facilitations.
Whilst many simply underwrote the cost of staging an exhibition, or sponsored the opening cocktails and o programs, others spent money to commission works, dances, donated gallery spaces; hosted exhibitions and nurtured artists who had fallen on hard times, for the most part, Corporate Gen-X-ers, remain blissfully ignorant and or oblivious of the fact that their support of the Arts, Artists, and the promotion of an awareness of the Arts, Generally, not only unearth, or harness potential, it lessens the coarseness in the society and represents a wonderful opportunity to promote good civic understanding and behavior, and in the process, lessen the appeal of the criminal lifestyle.

Andrea Dempster Chung , Allan Daisley, Dr. Jennifer Bailey

This brings us to, Kingston Creative. A brilliant initiative, being curated by the inspiring Andrea Dempster Chung,who along with Dr. Jennifer Bailey, and Allan Daisley, are listed as Founders, is a timely intervention and a invaluable gift to the City of Kingston and represents a template that can and should be replicated, across the islands; but to my mind, is lagging way behind its potential, because of the absence of Corporate Support.
The Communities in the designated areas are completely on board and in fulsome support of the Initiative, and the Development Bank Of Jamaica, along with TPDCo, The Tourism Product Development Company, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Carey Wallace, have been providing Corporate support and sponsorship, of the project, as has been His Worship the Mayor Of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams. Who has been unstinting in his and the KSAC’s support of the Project. With Redstripe Coming on board recently. But where is the support of the rest of Corporate Jamaica?
Strange, we read of Multi-billions in profits across Corporate Jamaica, daily, but we see no commensurate Corporate social spend in social development to help stem the race to the complete ghettoization of Of the old City.
We not that Corporate players Digicel. has situated its corporate offices on the waterfront; the relocation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from New Kingston, to the Waterfront; the renovation and repositioning of the Old Oceana Hotel, rebranded and pulling new life into the old City; the bold move by Business icon Brian Ribbie Chung and partner Don Creary, to establish their popular Ribbiz brand in the Old Pirate’s Cove space, and Ullie Bangerter has transformed the Old Swiss Stores into a hub, of a happening place – Now all of this is silently transforming the old Rundown and decrepit old City, into a showpiece of history and contemporaneous melding, accented by a fabulous Art-District, that for good measure, stage a Monthly Cultural and Art-Orama, providing opportunity and exposure to artists; artisans, musicians and residents of the surrounding communities, who all benefit from the monthly last Sunday production that is truly a fabulous showpiece of Jamaican Culture, that is just waiting to be acknowledged and showcased, it is painful to see the absence of Corporate Sponsorship and or brand support for this magnificent jewel!
Where is Corporate Jamaica, and The Government, (Not That we Necessarily want Government with their reputation for fuck-ups) to become a more dominant player, save and except that the Government could really take a fresh look at the general Downtown area and come up with a comprehensive plan to revitalize the area, as the boardwalk, whilst a fabulous contribution, is not nearly enough, to help really kick-start the transformation that’s now underway.
But the absence of Corporate Jamaica, in this crucial intervention in helping to spearhead the rejuvenation process, is alarming due to its shortsightedness; lack of shared corporate civic responsibility; and a grand shame, in that as an organization represented in various talk-shops, acting as Civic Groups, such as the JMA, PSOJ, etc., and use the podiums of these organizations to spout the need for others to pull their national weight, in moving forward, have been so lackadaisical and lack-luster, in its support for this transformational project, with the awesome potential, to transform the city and the lives of its underserved population.
This is not rocket science – Its a Win-Win, Situation Corporate Jamaica should step in, commission a number of murals, to expand the current prescribed “Art Walk’, for which they get branding credits; and the greater good of reversing innercity decay and the widening turf for gangs to both recruit, challenged youths, and flex their muscles.

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