The Art of Corporate Sterility

A friend of mine is in charge of a project in which a corporate real estate developer wants the children living in their communities to artistically depict what they love about their community. The art will then be featured at an event hosted by the sponsor.

Seems like a benign, kind of innocent and simple undertaking, right? What could be more natural than asking children to do art?

Well…the corporate sponsor provided to my friend a list of criteria, along with appropriate words/feelings they wanted the children to evoke. They also provided to them the subject matter they wanted reflected for each community represented.


The corporate sponsor – a company that tightly controls its image – cannot conceive embracing the concept of simply allowing children to create. Instead, they want their expertly manufactured identity replicated by children, creating the illusion of child-like free flowing creativity. They do not trust that the children will represent the communities the way the company wants to be represented. In other words, they are afraid.

And that’s the genesis of corporate artistic sterility. Control. Fear. Lack of imagination.

There is much to be honored in the pursuits of commercial artists. But, children aren’t artists-for-hire. I’m thinking that this company is short-sighted at best, a corruptor of children’s souls at worst.

At the very least they could give the kids and Xbox or something.


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