Global Public Investor 2020: Central bank art collections

The art of central banking

THE motivations, magnitude and characteristics of central banks’ public engagement have changed profoundly in the last decade. Previously hidden away, quietly managing and operating the plumbing of the financial system, these institutions have come into the spotlight through their unconventional policies. Last year’s Global Public Investor probed how central banks leverage digital communication strategies and social media to strengthen their relationship with the public and safeguard their most valuable resource, trust. This year, we continue the series on central banks’ public engagement by delving into their art collections. This report explores how art can serve as a bridge between institutions and the public, and has manifested itself in different cultures and histories. We look at how art collections function as a tool for central banks to support their local economies and encourage creativity through competitions, commissions and exhibitions. We examine how it enables them to strengthen their organisational culture, and motivate and support their staff. Finally, we cover art as money, analysing the ways through which some central banks have built investment policies for their art
collections, and money as art, looking at how questions on finance have inspired artists.

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