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Arts-Friendly Companies Lauded For Their Efforts

October 2, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Symphonies and paintings aren’t quite in Eli Lilly’s line of work. But support for the creative arts is an important sideline for the pharmaceutical company.

``Lilly believes there’s a strong link between creativity fostered in the arts and scientific creativity,″ says Chief Executive Officer Randall L. Tobias. ``If our scientists are stimulated through their involvement with the arts, then it’s ultimately good for business.″

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., which has given $30 million to the arts in two decades, was among seven companies honored Tuesday night for their support of the arts.

A Durham, N.C.-based newspaper, the luxury goods maker Cartier and the insurer MetLife were among the other companies that received the annual Business in the Arts awards presented by the non-profit Business Committee for the Arts and Forbes magazine.

Despite layoffs and other cost-cutting, corporate giving to the arts has grown steadily in recent years. The support _ especially by small companies, which won three of the seven awards _ has been inspired by a healthy economy, streamlined company balance sheets and a belief that a boost for the arts can help the bottom line.

Eli Lilly, which has been so loyal to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra that the players perform annually just for Lilly employees, finds that helping the city’s arts makes the company more attractive.

``We compete with other institutions for scientists and other top people,″ says Fritz Frommeyer, a spokesman. ``The arts helps to make the community viable and attractive to newcomers.″

St. Louis-based Monsanto Co., which received an award for linking black churches with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and other groups, also finds the arts are a good investment.

``Supporting the arts is a tremendous resource for building a stronger community,″ said John L. Mason, chairman of the chemical and pharmaceutical company’s philanthropic arm, the Monsanto Fund.

As well, exposure to the arts produces ``well-rounded individuals we’d ultimately like to hire,″ said Mason.

``There’s a real sense of the arts being important to the community, to the quality of life and economic development,″ said Judith A. Jedlicka, president of the Business Committee for the Arts, a group that helps link the business and art worlds.

Such support comes despite increased clamoring by other causes hard-hit by government cutbacks.

A recent survey by the Business Committee for the Arts found that 20 percent of its corporate members expected a drop in their arts support this year, mostly due to shifts in priorities. Some 37 percent of members expect increased spending and 45 percent say funding levels won’t change.

Other award-winners were:

_ Advertiser Co. of Montgomery, Ala., publisher of The Montgomery Advertiser, for giving free advertising space to arts groups and other efforts.

_ Cartier Inc. for initiatives including supporting a group that provides art programs for the New York city schoolchildren. The company also commissions an artwork that is presented annually by New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art to another arts-friendly company.

_ Circle Centre Development Company of Indianapolis, for creating ``Artsgarden,″ an arts complex connected to a shopping mall.

_ The Herald-Sun newspaper of Durham, for publishing four magazines on the arts in association with cultural groups.

_ Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of New York city, for starting a program to link up schools and cultural groups, giving grants to New York dance companies and other efforts.

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