Soaking up the artistic and architectural marvels of Rome as a child helped set property developer Adrian Fini on a path of drawing on culture and creativity in his business pursuits.
The FJM Property director was about 10 when he went on a family holiday to Italy, from where his father Tony had migrated to Australia in the late 1940s.
"Walking around the art and architecture impresses on you the importance of the creative urban space," Mr Fini said.
An art collector and theatre, film and music enthusiast, Mr Fini said more than $1 million of artworks would adorn the Old Treasury Building redevelopment being undertaken by FJM Property with private sector and civic partners.
The Australia Business Arts Foundation awards last year acknowledged Mr Fini for his philanthropic work with the Art Gallery of WA. He is a driving force behind its $25 million TomorrowFund.
He now heads the WA chapter of AbaF's successor, Creative Partnerships Australia, which announced its 2013 awards at Government House Ballroom last night.
"One of the great things . . .that has a lifestyle benefit at a community level is greater engagement with the arts," he said.
Mr Fini, who co-founded Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, said he applied principles learnt from witnessing the role of the arts in the cosmopolitan vitality of Fremantle in the 1970s and 80s.
Arts organisations fear corporate support may drop off in the fragile, post-boom marketplace. But Mr Fini said sponsors were more likely to stand firm because the business sector was more attuned to how the arts could enhance staff development, branding, education, community engagement and economic growth.
Major sponsors Wesfarmers, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were among the Creative Partnerships winners. The awards also recognised lower-profile contributors such as businessman Terry Grose, whose voluntary work as treasurer of Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company helped it establish a sure financial footing to match its artistic achievements.
Since 2010, Yirra Yaakin has increased its annual sponsorship revenue from nil to $800,000, or about 60 per cent of total income. The company recently signed a new three-year partnership with Chevron worth $500,000.Corporate support for the four major performing arts companies - WA Ballet, WA Symphony Orchestra, WA Opera and Black Swan State Theatre Company - rose 9.5 per cent to $6.5 million last year. All four were nervous about their private-sector revenue but remained confident that sponsors jumping ship could be replaced.