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What Color Glasses Do You Wear When You are Treated to a Mecenat Type Patronage?
조영실 reporter  |  sill881017@hanmail.net
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승인 2008.02.19  21:15:12
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

   
 
   
 

In the ancient Roman Empire, the Prime Minister Gaius Clinius Maecenas (B.C.70~ 8), who was a friend of the Emperor Augustus (B.C.63 ~ A.D.14) and a counselor, supported artists generously. He supported three popular poets of those days, Horaz, Vergil and Properz, for nothing but the love of the arts. He helped them to concentrate on their work financially and emotionally. This enthusiastic effort by Maecenas played a major role the flourishing Roman Empire’s culture.
The word ‘Mecenat’ is named after Maecenas. ‘Mecenat’ means the contribution by a corporation toward society’s and nation’s competitive power through supporting the cultural arts. ‘Mecenat’ is also a French word commonly used for designating supporting activities of corporations towards cultural arts.
By the way, were three poets who received help from Maecenas happy?  How much of a reward did Maecenas feel from helping them? In addition, was not there an invisible power leading Mecenat? It is doubtful if  they both could have had a win-win situation.

Horaz succeeded as poet, then how about Vergil and Properz? 
 Recently Mecenat type patronages have flourished due to investment market expansion of art pieces. However, many people are worried about the shrinking number of Mecenat patrons, due to the Shin Jeong-ah scandal.. Shin was an ex-curator and Art professor, who was recently arrested for forging her university degree to get a job as a Professor. She is also accussed of having an affair with Korean President Roh’s former Chief National Policy Secretary, Byeon Yang-kyoon. This scandal has threatened the large enterprise that supports Sungkok Museum financially. There are additional allegations and suspicions involving Shin’s embezzlement of the museums funds. Some journalists have expressed this incident as a negative influence Mecenat type management. Like this Mecenat does not always bring a good result. Although corporations start with a good purpose, sometimes their supported subject becomes a deficit or an unexpected and disheartening event. One example of this a Korean airline, which gave Professor Hwang Woo Suk a fly free pass, but due to his ethical misconduct, it became invalid. In addition, that airline had planned to support Korean singer Rain with a fly free pass, hoping to draw customers, who would like to be on the same airplane. However, his concert was canceled so they did not gain as big a profit as they expected.

Was Maecenas’s supporting one-day event!?
Because most Mecenates are conducted for commercial purpose these days, it is oriented towards artist and fields of interest that can attract the public and uplift a corporation’s image. As a result, the initial purpose of Mecenat, which was to support culture and Art development and is based on Art and cultural; promotion is weakening. In graph 1, most Mecenates are too focused on Fine Art and Exhibitions. Performance Halls, Art Galleries and Museums can generate immediate profits. As a result, a play, dance, and work of literature, which cannot produce profits fast, get relatively little interest. Soo Yeon Kim, who is a representative and Art Education Manager at Kumhoasiana, said there is concern about the trend that culture and the arts are only lead by public popularity regardless of artistic value. Apparently, writing a play or novel has to be processed for a long time until the work is shown to the public. Therefore, patronages of pure art are meager, Kim explained. However, the situations decline is deepened when certain museums or people are selected by pulling strings or using political authority. Sungkok Museum is under suspicion that it has been supported by more than a 1 Billion won. Economic and political power is combining with culture, which has sometimes caused a negative result. Therefore, Mecenat has one-time event factor and problem with cash management. The existence and nonexistence of standard of Mecenat patronages from corporations is another problem. The Korea Business Council for the Arts suggested a reason, why companies do not practice Mecenat funding. First most companies do have an established department in charge of these projects. Second, it is impossible to earmark a budget for these projects as profit and lose margins change each year. Kim said making a sustainable environment, where  Menecat type supports can be performed is most important. If there is a good business plan for Mecenat fund that can be used by corporations, financial support will naturally follow. Then, as interest in culture and the Arts increase, we can expect Mecenat support, which does not wish to be directly compensated.     

After getting Maecenas’s proposal, three poets toss about in their beds!?
Artists can also feel a negative result from Mecenat corporations. The artists can feel an agony, because of inconvenience, uneasiness, and feeling of dependency. The world of culture and Art think that those operating a corporation’s operation of Mecenat is ignorant about Art and Culture. Actually, according to research from the bottleneck in conducting Mecenat supports, information deficiency about artists and institutions are ranked third in Graph 2.
In addition, they are concern about corporations invading their program contents and concept of a work. In Finland, one insurance company made an exchange between corporations and artists and put the artists’ mind at easy.
In Korea, a large cultural institute is supporting the subjects of a public institute. For this reason, artists worry about patronage reduction from the government and municipal governments. Those in the culture and Art world overcome difficulties by continually producing creative work. If they only rely on Mecenat corporations, it will cause devastation to them. Therefore, merciless enforcement from the culture and Art world and companies has to been banned.  

   
 
   
 

Empire Augustus, friend of Maecenas, buys a poem written by Horaz?
Korean government came up with an idea to support the world of culture and Art, which has stagnated through the reduction of cultural expenses since the economic crisis in 2005. The government has encouraged the increasing fiscal spending to be on works of art and introduced the Art Bank. Some evaluated that these contribution has help the art market flourish and created a popularization of art. They say it is natural government back up area. Collin Twity, a secretary-general of Art & Business (A&B), emphasized the role of government for the activation of Mecenat patronages in Korea. However, others disagree that taxes should be used on purchasing objects of art. They assert that the government is ignorant about art and their role must be limited to purchasing. For instance, France and Germany’s governments lead Mecenat funding, but U.S government does not intervene. We have to think that if a government can buy an art object; this would interfer feeble fields of art.       

Modern Maecenas! Do study Mecenat
Mecenat patronages need long-term strategies, consistent standards, and transparent procedures. A company has to strive to settle a cultural business. Not to be determined Mecenat supports by a person’s own course; a reasonable system has to be established. In addition, in order to spread art, culture, and the science area, the government’s effort is required. For instance, Japan’s government and citizens raised about 2 Billion yen together succeeding Japan’s festival in the UK in 1991. Those compromises need an intermediary as a foundation, corporation, and individual association. They can specialize in Mecenat patronages rather transparently. Then, a government bill on Mecenat taxing is needed, too.
Thanks to the Mecenat ideas, a musical genius man in his early teens can became a international musical artist in their twenties. Mecenat patronages are certainly a fine and necessary system. We should not judge Mecenat patronages from only one situation. The Shin Jeong-ah scandal has given us a chance to reform Mecenat patronages in Korea. To accomplish that, it is essential that enterprises, government, and the Culture and Art worlds make an effort and compromise. Also, we have to keep in mind that our interest on culture and art is very important.
  

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