It's not just about pretty pictures on the wall.

You might not have thought of it before, especially here in a region where art doesn’t often get the spotlight in all the noise, but it’s been proven that businesses who collect or engage with art reap so many benefits.

Apart from improving a firm’s corporate culture, it adds a new dimension to their corporate social responsibility and significantly enhances their brand image. Not to mention, provides much-needed support for contemporary artists.

And corporate art collections aren’t only for huge conglomerates, although they certainly have the budget for big purchases.Even SMEs looking to expand their portfolio (and their community) can come to realize that art is a fascinating and fruitful way to go. Here are five reasons you should start a corporate art collection:

1. The art market is pretty solid

The global art market value has increased 154% since 2003. According to the world’s leading art market research company, Arts Economics, the global art market reached its highest ever-recorded level in 2014, a total of just over $57 billion worldwide, a 7% year-on-year increase, taking it above the 2007 pre-recession level of $53 billion.

The art market rebounded quickly after the last recession, faster than traditional investments. And although there have been recent corrections on art market ROI figures, art is nothing to sneeze at.

Also, between markets in flux and Brexit, investors are looking for alternate ways to invest in tangible assets that don’t rely on politics.

2. Shameless bragging rights

Besides adding something extra to your portfolio, you now also have something to boast about. Being involved in the art community gives you all sorts of bragging rights while marketing your company.

Support for the arts always comes with an air of sophistication and trendiness. So if you’d like to promote your business’s portfolio unabashedly, get behind a group of artists or even one, who visually speaks to your brand.

3. Building a creative community is imperative for innovation and progress

It is proven—and rather obvious—that a society with a thriving art world is a thriving, multi-dimensional society. One needn’t look further than any of the big cities of the world who are celebrated for their cultural heritage.

However, take a look at less developed societies—the nooks and crannies of the world, that have been plagued by dilapidation and degradation. Very often these are spaces where the bravest of creative specimen crawl out of the woodwork and transform derelict town centers into teeming hubs of innovation, revival, and progress.

This is particularly evident in the MENA region. There have been some astonishing street artists popping up all over, using buildings as their canvases. “It is not about the already created and warped discourses, it is about the people who can change how stories about them are being told,” says Widewalls online art magazine and art directory.

4. Art stimulates creativity and innovative discussion

Although art may confuse the untrained eye at times (or, most times), dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a world in which the most creative and innovative minds of our time are questioning the very fabric of society. Painters, sculptors, filmmakers, musicians, performers etc. are all people who pick apart topics facing humanity and present a discourse that challenges the norm.

And what better place than the MENA region, which is ripe with issues that need to be addressed urgently. Also, some artists are using tech in ways one could never have deemed possible.

The world of interactive art installation is growing fast, as science meets art in innovative collaborations between artists and engineers. Cultivating platforms for this to grow will attract more and more creative thinking, innovation and compelling discourse.

5. Supporting the art ecosystem makes economic sense.

Although you may not think of it this way, artists, as well as the gallery owners they’re supported by, are essentially entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs contributing to the economy.

Art is a business. Artists often have to be their own agents, salespeople, marketers, financial advisors, etc. It presents an opportunity for an ecosystem to grow around artists, in precisely the same way ecosystems grow around tech or retail.