BACK IN 1939, when he was just out of college, Donald S. MacNaughton decided to take advantage of his 6-foot-4 height by playing professional basketball for the Syracuse Nationals - an activity that supplement his meager teacher's salary and earned him the princely sum of $30 a game.
Now, as board chairman and chief executive officer of the Prudential Insurance Co. and a member of the board of directors of the Exxon Corporation and AT&T, the 60-year-old lawyer is considerably better remunerated, but he still appreciates the sight of the human body in graceful motion.
"I am very fond of ballet," he says. "I go to New York quite frequently to see the New York City Ballet, which I think may be the finest ballet troupe in the world.
Haviang a balletomane as its head has undoubtedly had a positive effect on Prudential's support of the dance. In addition to contributions to the Lincoln Center in New York and the Los Angeles Ballet, the Houston Ballet Society and the Garden State Ballet, the Newark-based company last year furnished sets and costumes to the Houston Ballet and offered its Prudential Center in Bostons as a showcase for the Boston Ballet and te New England Conservatory.
But the dance is by no means the only art form that Prudential helps underwrite. MacNaughton is currently leading the Corporate Fund for the Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center's million-dollar fund-raising drivle, which Prudential kicked off with an initial $50,000 donation and for which President Carter expressed his support at a White House Rose Garden reception in May.
At that ceremony, attended by Van Cliburn, Rose Kennedy and a score of senators and representatives and followed by a Kennedy Center dinner and sneak preview of the Stuttgary Ballet, the President spoke of the business community's responsibility to the arts. It is "through the partnership of those of us who are influential and wealthy," the President said, that the "rich personal rewards of the arts can be reaped by all the people."This is the first major effort we've done on a national basis," says MacNaughton. "When I was approached by Roger Stevens and asked to be the chairman, I had had no previous involvement with the Kennedy Center except for an appreciation of what they'd done. I accepted, and then approached individually the men you see listed as vice chairmen of the board of governors of the Corporate Fund": the chairmen or presidents of IBM, Exxon, General Motors, du Pont, U.S. Steel, G.E., Mobil, Exxon, AT&T and American Can.
"We're zeroing in on the performing arts in this campaign," MacNaughton says, recalling the days before the Kennedy Center, when the Bolshoi Ballet was forced to perform "ona dinky little stage, with no dressing rooms and horrible acoustics" when it came to Washington.
The Corporate Fund campaign, however, emphasizes the theater more than the dance. "That's all right," says MacNaughton. "Personally, I'd put more into the ballet and less into the theater, because I'm not very fond of the theater. Rover STevns is doing it just the opposite, but it doesn't bother me at all." Kirkpatrick Oil
YOU'LL HAVE TO speak louder," retired Rear Adm. John E.Kirkpatrick shouts into the phone. "The damn bulldozers are right outside my window."
They're tearing up the street at the Kirkpatrick Oil Co. corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, but three miles away,near the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma City Zoo, things are even noisier and more active. Ground for the new Kirkpatrick Cente for Science and Arts, a three-storey, 600,000-square-foot project, was broken there not too long ago, and work is now in full swing.
"We're spending $5 million to underwrite the center, plus giving them some oil-producing properties," says Kirkpatrick, a 69-year-old Naval Academy graduate and one time Harvard Business School student. "That's not bad for a small independent, family owned oil company that does mostly contract drilling.
The Kirkpatrick Oil Co, which the blunt and salty admiral has headed since 1950, and Kirkpatrick Foundation may be the smallest of the dozen institutions o million-dollar annual givers" list of the Business Committee for the Arts, but they have long been important force on the Oklahoma City cultural scene. "Twenty years ago we built the first arts center here, and now it's outgrowing its space," he says. "All told, we support between 200 and 300 arts activities, just about all of them local."
Among Kirkpatrick's favorite programs is the Oklahoma City Summer Lyric Theater - an organization which, he proudly rports, has been operating in the black for the last six years. "That's important to me. I look for things that can be self-supporting. When I invest in the arts, I want to get my money's worth, just like anything else.
Kirkpatrick himself makes the decisions about what programs the company will support, and finds that he tends to "emphasize visual arts more than performing arts." He has no stockholders or board of directors to which he must report, and he prefers it that way: He doesn't like "interference" of any kind.
"I'm not too much in sympathy with the idea of the government directly funding the arts," he says. "It should be left in the hands of private citizens and corporations. All those damn reports to and from Washington don't mean anything if you don't have the personal touch, and those bureaucrats back East don't. It's like throwing money into a dark barrel."
With total grants last year of just under $2 million, Kirkpatrick Oil has just about reached its peak, says its president. "That's one hell of a charitable allowance against inome," says Kirkpatrick. "I can deduct up to 50 per cent of it, too. If it were a corporate deduction and not a personal deduction, I'd only be able to take 5 per cent.
"That's another of the benefits of haviang no stockholders to answer to." Corning Glass Works
ON WEDNESDAY afternoons, Thomas Buechner, president of Steuben Glass Inc. and the Corning Glass Works Foundation, leaves his office in Corning, N.Y., and goes home to paint. On weekends, he often leaves the upstate manufacturing center behind altogether and heads for New York City, where he maintains his own studio.
"I've been painting professionally for over 20 years," he says. "In the city, I largely do commissioned portraits, while here in the country I do landscapes. Really, there's nothing at all unusual about it."
Maybe not, but Buechner's own career has been something out of the ordinary, shuttling him between the worlds of art and business for more than 25 years. After attending the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and the Institut voor Pictologie in Amsterdam during the late '40s, Buechner joined the Compania de Fomento in San Juan. He spent the '50s as director of the Corning Museum of Glass, the '60s as director of the Brooklyn Museum.
"One of the reasons I came to Corning in 1971," he says, "was that the company was on the verge of building a new museum. The museum has been expanding at a steady rate, from 10,000 square feet to 42,000 square feet, and that's where most of the foundation's money goes."
Last year, in fact, the Corning Glass Works Foundation spent $475,000 of the approximately $700,000 it budgeted for arts programs on the Corning Museum of Glass. Another $70,000 was earmarked for the Rockwell-Corning Museum, a new museum of western art that opened last fall. "The major recipient of funds has always been and will always be the museum," says Richard Bessey, the foundation's executive director.
"The other area of concentration of our recent philanthropy, says the 50'year-old Buechner, author of "Glass Vessels in Dutch Painting of the 17th Century" and four other art books, "is architectural restoration. That reflects my own interest: When I lived in Brooklyn I got involved with the subject and worked with a group called the 'Anonymous Art Recovery Society,' and when I came back here, the foundation started to get involved."
That has led to grants for the preservation of Corning's Market Street, $25,000 for the restoration of Patterson Inn, "the oldest frame structure in Corning, N.Y.," and support for restoration projects in Bradford, Pa., and Louisville, Ky. "We're concerned with the visual environment of communities, especially those where we have manufacturing facilities," says Bessey. "It's an across-the-board interest: architecture, public building presevation and restoration of landmarks."
"In our new buildings," adds Buechner, "we're now also concerned with esthetic embellishment. We have to be. This is a business with a lot of esthetic overtones, so artistic and business considerations have to feed each other." Atlantic Richfield
BOB ANDERSON and I complement each other", says Thornton Bradshaw. "I know more about the performing arts and am more involved with them, and he knows more about the visual arts. Together, we just about cover the waterfront."
Robert O. Anderson is the chairman of the board of the Atlantic Richfield Company and the Atlantic Richfield Foundation; Thornton F. "Brad" Bradshaw, once a professor at th Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, is Arco into the fastest-growing company in the upper reaches of the Fortune 500 - and made it a member of the BCA's recently-released "million-dollar annual giver" list, right up there along-side competitors Exxon, Mobil and Gulf and ahead of the rest of the Seven sisters. Arco's total contributions to the arts last year totalled just under $3 million.
Of late, Anderson, formerly a kennedy Center trustee and once the chairman of the Business Committee for the Arts, has received more attention than his colleague. He's active in the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, which Arco funded last year to the tune of $300,000, and last fall spearheaded Arco's purchase of the London newspaper The Observer, Bradshaw, meanwhile, has been looking after matters closer to home.
"We've been concentrating on the Pacific Coast and Southwest," says Bradshaw, a member of the board of directors of the Southern California Symphony Association. "The West is young and needs more arts support than organizations in New York that have been in existance a long time."
In accordance with that belief, the Atlantic Richfield Company and Foundation last year made over a dozen grants to symphony, theater and opera groups in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Washington, with a particularly strong concentration in the Los Angeles area, where Arco has its headquarters and Bradshaw his home. "I follow the symphony avidly," he says, "and I only wish it weren't so hard to keep up with opera on the West Coast."
Also in Los Angeles is the Arco Center for the Visual Arts, which Bradshaw says is "devoted almost entirely to new artists and new art forms," and the bulk of the Atlantic Richfield corporate art collection, also "essentially all modern art."
"Actually," says Bradshaw, laughing, "as far as the shareholders are concerned, buying into modern art was a good deal. We bought a great deal of modern and abstract art about 10 years ago, before the upward pressure on prices began. It's proven to be a good investment, but that's hardly been our main concern." Alcoa Foundation
HE APOLOGIZES for being so busy. "We've got an exhibition titled 'Women Artists: 1550-1950' opening tonight at the Carnegie Institute of Art," says Arthur M. Doty, president of the Alcoa Foundation, philanthorpic arm of the Aluminum Corporation of America, over the phone from Pittsburg. "It's a bit crazy around the here today."
Alcoa has been big on arts exhibitions ever since the "Four Americans in Paris" exhibition they sponsored at the Museum of Modern Art in December 1970 won critical and popular acclaim. Since then they've done, among other things, the John D. Rockefeller III Collection at the Whitney, a Giacometti retrospective, an Eastman Johnson show, also at the Whitney, and a "Manet to Matisse" program that went abroad to Australi.
"We have vast holdings in Australia, you know," says Doty, a soft-spoken Mississippian who has come up through the ranks at Alcoa after joining the company 30 years ago as the management trainee and spending a decade in personnel relations before moving over to the foundation in 1967. "We weanted to prove that we care about the quality to life in Australia."
Most of Alcoa's support of arts projects, though, takes place here in America. "We look for quality programs," Doty says, "exciting, pace-setting things. It doesn't matter whether the category is visual arts or performing arts so long as it excites the directors."
By foundation policy, those six men - "Murph" Doty and five others - must vote on all grants above $1,500. Alcoa has a lot of those: The foundation's support of art and cultural programs last year totalled $799,787, or 18 per cent of the foundation's total grants. The parent company also made significant arts contributions, putting Alcoa on the BCA "million dollar giver" list.
"Our big thing right now," Doty, 64, explains, "is 'Previn and the Pittsburgh,' which you may have seen on PBS. We're going to be doing it again next year too, but with a much bigger budget. Most of that money will come from the foundation, but some of it will come from the Alcoa advertising budget."
It's all very middle-brow, some would say, and Doty doesn't deny it. "We just haven't been involved in things of an avant-garde nature," he says. "It's just not our bag. We limit ourselves to things we know about and have an understanding of, and the avant-garde really is not in our backyard. I could get lost very quickly." Wm. Underwood Co.
I'M NO GREAT authority on art," says George Seybolt, president of the Wm. Underwood Company, 1 Red Devil Lane, Westwood, Mass., "but when we were putting together our office collection, I selected the paintings myself and worked closely with the artist. It was my first and, so far, only attempt to get into abstract art, but I think it went pretty well."
George S. Seybolt, 63, is one of those self-made men we're always hearing about. He never had the opportunity to go to college ("I got in at Princeton but couldn't afford to go."), but for almost 20 years he's headed for the company that makes Underwood Deviled Ham and B&S Baked Beans. He's also president emeritus of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, chairman of the Trustees Committee of the American Association of Museums, a Ford appointee to the National Council on the Arts and is, rumor has it, soon to be named by the President Carter to the Museum Service Institute Board.
"When I was kid," he says, attempting to explain the Underwood Company's contributions last year to 11 museums and its two-year grant to a Harvard University museum trustee seminar, "we didn't learn much except the three R's and shop. Young people are naturally curious about the arts, but they don't learn how to use their minds in connection with art, and that's what we've got to teach them."
The business community's role in this educative process, he says, should be "entrepreneurial. There has to be a procedure that teaches people where to begin, how to look at a work of art and that takes funding. If it has any thing to do with any of the five sesnse I say business should be supporting it.
His own preferences, he admits, learn toward the visual arts. "I started my own collection back in 1932, when was earning $9 a week. Over the year I built up quite a collection of portrait and landscapes, but a few years ago got rid of the landscapes and decided to concentrate on people. I've also got a lot of Bostoniana in the office and 18th-century furniture at home."
The Underwood Company, for it part, supports not only museums but two opera companies, two symphony orchestras, two concert and two art association, two theaters, a music school and Boston's PBS outlet - all with th approval of the fifth, sixth and seventh-generation descendents of William J. Underwood, who own 90 per cent of the company and who, "being typical Yankees," don't want to make public the amount of their involvement.
"It's a long-term commitment," Seybolt says. "Business and the arts may not be married yet, but they're already living together." CAPTION: Picture 1, Donald S. MacNaughton Prudential Insurance Million-dollar fundraiser; Picture 2, John E. Kirkpatrick Kirkpatrick Oil Co. A $5-million underwrite; Picture 3, Thomas Buechner Corning Glass Works $700,000 arts budget; Picture 4, Thornton Bradshaw Atlantic Richfield Multimillion-dollar giver; Picture 5, Arthur M. Doly Alcoa Foundation $799,787 in grants; Picture 6, George Seybolt WM. Undewrood Co. A 'Long-Term Commitment'