NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- Corporate art buying in North American has fallen off since the boom days of the 1970s and 1980s. But even as the economy improves, some companies are buying less art but doing more to put their works out for the public to enjoy.

According to the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections, there are about 1,500 corporations in the world with art collections.

The directory's editor, Shirley Reiff Howarth, says that since 2000, the percentage of collections listed as ongoing, or still being added to, has dropped from 55 percent to about 40 percent. But while the volume of buying has gone down, educational programs have increased.

She says collections being are used for more than simply enhancing the walls of the company and its image.

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