12 May 2016

Drawing Connections Between Business and Art


Tetsuji Shibayama (MBA 1990) is helping Japanese businesses understand the importance of art to their corporate cultures and their bottom lines, while also introducing art students to the principles and practices—and the ready market—of the business world.

After a career as a trader and investment advisor, and a stint as managing director of Sotheby’s in Japan, Shibayama runs the consultancy AG Holdings, which plans and manages corporate art collections and art support programs in his native Japan. The best known of these is the Mitsubishi Corporation Art Gate Program, which buys about 200 works a year from emerging Japanese artists and then displays them in galleries and the company’s offices before selling them at a charity auction, where the artists and buyers can meet. The money raised goes to scholarship funds for people studying the arts.

“It helps support the artists, while at the same time expanding the art appreciation of the staff members,” he says.

“We have no market for contemporary art by young artists here,” notes Shibayama, who also teaches the business of art at two Japanese universities. “We have around 20,000 art majors graduating from college every year, but no one is encouraging their work.”

Based on his background, he knew that business could provide the solution. “I thought I should create an art market rather than complaining about the lack of one.”

(Published May 2016)

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1990, Section D

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