Why Wesfarmers invests in the arts

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The head of one of Australia biggest corporate supporters of the arts explains what’s in it for big business.

At a lunch last year hosted by Wesfarmers in the company’s corporate headquarters in Perth, Richard Tognetti talked with a group of Western Australian business leaders about his twin passions for surfing and music.  He was in Perth to introduce the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s new project The Reef, taking musicians and surfers to the remote wild coasts and communities across northern Western Australia to create a performance production ‘at the intersection of music and nature’.  He talked about the single-minded purpose and sense of adventure that focuses both surfer and musician - the pursuit of perfection, the embrace of risk and the exhilaration of performance.   His description of creative endeavour was simple and compelling in its universality: he articulated ideas about what it means to be dedicated and open to new experiences with a spirit and directness we could all respond to. 

Helen Carroll

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