It’s no secret that Hollard is a passionate supporter of the arts, as any visit to our scenic grounds in Parktown can confirm. From the walls of our offices to our extensive gardens, and from the historical Villa Arcadia that occupies pride of place on our campus to our functional parking garages, contemporary African art abounds. We’re surrounded by a diverse and arresting collection of paintings, mosaics, sculptures and murals that add an extraordinary dimension to our business environment and perfectly reflect Hollard’s unique approach to business.
We love the fresh thinking the arts engender, as well as the important conversations they stimulate. We know that art can touch people, move people, change people in a way that an insurer can’t. And we know that art can explore territories and ask questions that we can’t as a corporate.
Our interest in the arts clearly extends way beyond the passive admiration of artistic talent. As a purpose-driven organisation, we are constantly striving to enable more people to create and secure a better future. And we believe that connecting the arts and business can turn passion into profit for all. That’s why we support initiatives that help people working in the arts to make a living from their talent, that make the arts accessible for everyone and that deliver the societal ‘win’ that is a changed perspective, a challenged prejudice or an enlightened mind.
That’s one of the reasons for our partnership with the Creative Block Project, which involves the purchase of 180mm x 180mm blocks decorated by up-and-coming artists. These artists are selected by the Project and their blocks are purchased for cash, but the Project then goes an important step further, providing the artists with professional feedback on their work to assist them in building their careers in the arts. Creative Block works are displayed, and are for sale, in the foyers of the two office buildings on our campus.
And it’s also the reason our partnership with Business Art South Africa (BASA) has always made perfect sense. As Heidi Brauer, our Chief Marketing Officer puts it, ‘We are immensely proud to have been BASA’s partner since the very beginning. Together we have enabled better futures for artists, through increasing their access to corporate support, and for society as a whole, by ensuring that beautiful art of all forms sees the light of day. Together we have catalysed increased corporate investment in the arts, and nurtured an environment in which all companies – from SMEs to multinationals – understand why and how they can contribute to the upliftment of the communities in which they operate through supporting arts projects.’
The last ten years of this partnership have been especially rewarding from Hollard’s perspective, thanks in no small part to the contribution of outgoing BASA CEO, Michelle Constant. Her immense passion for the arts, allied with her unerring instincts, infectious enthusiasm and consistent willingness to push boundaries, have ensured we achieve the win-win-win we look for in all of our partnerships. The link between the Hollard brand and making a difference through the arts has strengthened; BASA has grown in prominence as a facilitator of sustainability for the arts; and an ever-increasing number of artists, whether they be sculptors or dancers, singers or poets, have found both sponsors and audiences for their work.
We have come to regard Michelle as more than a partner – she is a trusted friend. We are immensely grateful for all that she has done with us and for us, and we wish her every success with whatever she chooses to do next. We know it will be whatever she chooses to make it, such is the force of her will.
We also welcome the appointment of Ashraf Johaardien and we look forward to working with him and the BASA team in achieving BASA’s vision. For Hollard, the beautiful thing about creative expression remains the potential it has to enrich the lives of those who are exposed to it. We’re captivated by the power that it has to move people – even change them – depending on the way it’s experienced. We look forward to 20 more years of ensuring richer perspectives and enabling better futures for us all.