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Business Community United for the Arts
By Claude Gagnon, President, Operations for BMO Financial Group, Quebec
March 28, 2019
Claude Gagnon (BMO Financial Group), Sylvain Corbeil (TD Commercial Banking) & Nadine Renaud-Tinker (RBC Royal Bank) co-presidents of the 2019 Annual Gala

People often remark on the originality of three financial institutions joining together in a co-presidency for the benefit of a cultural organization such as Les Grands Ballets. I believe we just as often take too lightly the contribution of the world of finance to the world of culture, and vice-versa. Culture is a fundamental pillar of our economy; it is the vital element of a dynamic society; however, it would also be a highly fragile one if special attention were not paid to it. We may well be three financial institutions in competition from nine to five, but when evening comes we cannot but help unite behind a worthy cause.

At first glance, the cultural world and the financial world do not seem to have that many features in common. In my opinion, that is untrue. I believe that the world of finance has much to learn by involving itself in culture. The latter is bursting with talented and determined artists who take risks while never abandoning their instincts – something like entrepreneurs! Why would we not want to invest in the arts and in culture? It is more than for economic benefits: it is also for the social side of things.

With the passage of time, it does not take long to realize that one of the most effective and most direct means of reaching out to the community and getting closer to its members can be found in the arts. They are cathartic, they appeal to our sensibilities, they inspire us along different routes and they guide our minds towards a certain liberation from day-to-day living. The effect of culture on our lives must not be underestimated: indeed, there are studies claiming that the arts contribute in many ways to a population’s health.

The relationship between the financial sector and culture is mutually beneficial. Artists here bring about an osmosis of creativity that gives Montreal its vibrant cultural reputation. As a Montreal bank, having the chance to do business in such a culturally dynamic city unquestionably allows us to attract new talents. Accordingly, giving back to the institutions that allow that cultural life to shine is of inestimable value in my eyes. How could we not wish to encourage such a flourishing of talent?

For more information on Les Grands Ballets' Annual Gala, see the Gala's page on our websiteé.
*See the Gala in pictures

Claude Gagnon, President, Operations for BMO Financial Group, Quebec
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