Global Head, Citi Private Bank
September 4, 2020Posted InCiti
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Culture and the arts will be hugely important in post-COVID regeneration. But many creative organizations are facing an existential crisis right now.
“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live” – Auguste Rodin
There are few more powerful forces in life than hope. It is hope, above all, that has helped sustain us during the COVID-19 pandemic so far. Countless things have awakened this hope, including feats of bravery, scientific ingenuity, and solidarity within communities. Many of us have also derived hope from less obvious, but equally vital sources, and particularly culture and the arts. Watching a streamed concerto or marveling at magnificent paintings during a virtual gallery tour have brought precious moments of inspiration and joy amid the anxious uncertainty of recent months.
Once we have finally overcome COVID-19, culture and the arts will also have a pivotal role to play. In the great regeneration of the economy and society that we so sorely need, these sectors can assist in the healing process. For individuals, there is compelling evidence that appreciating or participating in creative pursuits nourishes both body and mind. For communities, culture and the arts have a unique ability to bring people together, transcending other differences. For the economy as a whole, a vibrant cultural sector can enrich in both senses, stimulating growth as well as the soul.
While culture and the arts have huge regenerative potential, they are also in urgent need of regeneration themselves. COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to the creative sector. Theaters, concert halls, and museums are among those that have seen their income collapse. Many cultural and arts organizations now face an existential battle. In her new article, Karen Kardos – Head of Philanthropic Advisory – assesses the immensity of the task ahead. She argues that for these organizations to survive, they will need to adapt, especially in how they seek funding.
Of course, culture and the arts are no strangers to crisis. Periods of hardship and suffering have profoundly impacted the creative process itself, resulting both in timeless works of beauty and important teachings for subsequent generations. Mary-Kate O’Hare of our Art Advisory team has been exploring this theme recently in a fascinating series of articles. Her latest installment recounts the personal struggle of two 19th century US artists against injustice and persecution. The “courage, sacrifice, and risk” that drove their accomplishments have particular resonance today.
Ultimately, a lasting recovery in the global economy is critical to regenerating culture and the arts. However, any such recovery will first require the pandemic to abate. David Bailin and Steven Wieting expect this to occur in 2021, with the arrival of vaccines and treatments for the virus. They believe this recovery is likely to include the long-awaited revival of many “value” sectors and markets. They set out how you should position your portfolio ahead of this in their latest report.
Regenerating the economy after COVID-19 will demand a fundamental shift in much of how we live and do business. Allocating capital to firms whose products, services, and practices emphasize sustainability can encourage this shift. To help you understand the opportunities and challenges, I warmly invite clients to join Harlin Singh, Head of Sustainable Investing at the Private Bank, and colleagues from across Citi for a week-long virtual summit. Starting on 14 September, each half-day interactive session will feature cutting-edge insights into socially responsible investing, ESG integration, and impact and thematic investing.
In the spirit of regenerating culture and the arts, we are extremely proud to be partnering with the world-renowned Philharmonia Orchestra to bring you another series of musical interludes. While they usually perform around the world, the Philharmonia’s exceptional musicians are currently only active digitally owing to COVID-19. This week’s episode was one of the first recordings that they were able to make after the lockdown. “The Fairy Garden” is the final movement of Maurice Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, a continuation of last week’s inspirational interlude. This warm and colorful music perfectly encapsulates an orchestra’s power to spark our imagination, inviting us to paint a magical garden of our own design in our minds.
As the Labor Day holiday weekend begins in the US and Canada, I hope this ethereal performance instills a further sense of hope in you, wherever you may be.