2009 Case Study: Our Corporate Art Collection Unlocked

For a number of years, Alcoa has been gifting its $3
million art collection to galleries and health care organisaitons across Australia. In 2009, we donated our last pieces of art which are now in public places for the whole community to enjoy. 

Alcoa first began purchasing art back in 1970 and since that time the benefit of ‘the arts’ has become well entrenched in the Alcoa culture. 
Given the Alcoa art collection included pieces by some of the country’s most acclaimed artists - such as Sir Sidney Nolan, Jeffrey Smart, Pro Hart and Margaret Olley - it became part of Australian history.  In 2002, Alcoa made the decision to gift its corporate art collection to the community, having recognised there is little value in having famous pieces of art locked away in corporate offices, when they could be in public places for the whole community to enjoy for generations to come.

The goal of our existing arts partnerships, like Sculpture by the Sea and the Melbourne International Arts Festival, is to play a part in making access to the arts a reality for everyone. Our corporate art
donations were in line with this goal and one additional way we saw to enrich our communities.

Our art giving journey began with gifts to the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra in 2002 and 2005 – those donations were valued at around $2M.

In late 2008, we gifted 36 artworks to Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital including four pieces by well-known WA artists Elizabeth Durack and William Boissevain. Our donation was valued at around $75,000.

Throughout 2009, our donations were primarily focused on regional communities and came in the midst of the challenging economic climate when communities needed corporate support more than ever.
In February 2009, the City of Bunbury, near our Wagerup and Willowdale operations, in WA’s South-West accepted 21 pieces valued
at nearly $400,000 which are now housed in the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries.  

The gift was the largest corporate donation the City of Bunbury had ever received. The donation included work by Sidney Nolan and
Arthur Boyd.

Also in February, the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, which is near our Pinjarra Refinery, was gifted a prized piece of work, valued at $90,000, by well-known Australian artist Margaret Olley. This is displayed in Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery within the Performing Arts Centre.

The Geelong Gallery, near our Point Henry and Anglesea operations in Victoria, accepted seven pieces in July 2009.  The gift included work by Sir Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Ray Crooke and is valued at over $300,000.

Finally, the Alcoa gift to the Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital in Victoria is valued at close to $100,000 and includes work by Pro Hart.




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The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre receives a gift from Alcoa



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Bunbury Regional Art Galleries



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Alan Cransberg at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries with Curator Greg White and Bunbury Mayor David Smith