Emeritus Professor Jennifer Radbourne discusses the role of philanthropy in the Australian arts, and explores the different ways that a modern patron can help transform our cultural life – from purchasing a few bars of music to making a multi-million-dollar donation.

Mark Wakely, Paul Dean and Claire Edwardes. Photo courtesy of Ensemble Offspring

What is philanthropy, and what inspires a person to give to the arts? Philanthropy is more than charitable giving to worthy causes; it is altruism and is associated with human values, attitudes and behaviours. It can certainly have a transformative impact on the recipient. This is at the core of the relationship between the arts and philanthropy. There is an inextricable link between the transformational role of ‘giving’ and the transformational role of the arts in...