CULTURE & ARTS
12/19/2011 03:48 pm ET

Oil Giant BP Continues To Fund The Arts Despite Petition (VIDEO)

BP, the oil mega power infamously known for the disastrous spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, is continuing their controversial funding of several British art institutions, despite repeated actions by the public to dissuade the practice. BP is set to donate ten million pounds over the next five years to the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and Tate Britain.

BP announced a "renewal and expansion" of their support for the institutions at a British Museum event. This comes after earlier controversy when a petition with 8,000 signatures was handed over to the Tate, protesting BP's continued sponsorship. Last year, protestors poured buckets filled with molasses on the steps of the Tate during a gala celebrating BP's continued support.

Despite the ongoing protest of BP's involvement, members of the Tate's ethics committee decided to move along with the controversial sponsorship.

"The board... thought it was the right thing to continue with BP," Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate said. "BP have been great supporters of the arts in this country."

"The fact that they had one major incident in 2010 does not mean we should not be taking support from them."

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey echos Serota's sentiments. Vaizey is grateful for the "significant investment," claiming that BP had "led the way in business support for the arts."

National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne understood the perspective of the protesters, "We absolutely respect the right of those who wish to make peaceful protests. We will always think about any sponsorship very carefully."

Despite museum officials comments that the sponsorship was examined carefully, protest groups cite what they see as hypocrisy at the very core of the institutions.

"Something fundamentally important is lost when you put a corporate logo on a piece of art," Sam Chase, of protest group Art Not Oil said to the BBC.

View a video of last year's protest outside of the Tate below.

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