BP under fire over arts sponsorship

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management has called for money from oil and gas firms to be rejected as sponsorship for cultural institutions. As BP revealed this week […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management has called for money from oil and gas firms to be rejected as sponsorship for cultural institutions.

As BP revealed this week that it is spending £66m a day on efforts to contain and clean up the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the CIWEM particularly singles out the oil giant for condemnation over its sponsorship of the Tate galleries.

CIWEM said that it “deplores the continuing acceptance of guilt monies and influence from the petro-carbon industries, as this sullies the arts, and undermines our cultural institutions. At times of economic recession, there are debates about replacement funding for the arts, but crimes against the environment are crimes against humanity. Oil money is an expedient too far.”

But BP, and other oil and gas funding, were defended by art historian Sir Christopher Frayling, former chairman of Arts Council England.

“Now is not the time to get squeamishy about sponsorship,” he said on Radio 4’s Today programme. “The system is utterly dependent on sponsorship from companies and large firms.”