In an effort to improve Atlanta’s status as an international cultural center, Swissair and other firms here are sponsoring an exhibition of 18th century Italian paintings to be held at the Oglethorpe University Museum April 29-Oct. 5.

Companies getting behind the effort to bring the paintings here include the Italian firms Bolla Wines and Parmalat Dairies as well as American Express, Robinson-Humphrey and Harris Teeter.  The museum welcomes other sponsors to help promote events featuring the show during the five months that it is here.

Eberhard Suhr, Swissair’s general manager for the U.S. South, Mexico and the Caribbean, told GlobalFax last week that Swissair selects only from “the cream of the crop” when it decides to sponsor cultural events, and he placed the upcoming exhibit in the topmost tier.

Besides enhancing Swissair’s reputation as a promoter of the arts, Mr. Suhr, who is a director of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), said his company’s sponsorship also fits in with the ACVB’s strategic plan of encouraging cultural events here as a magnet for drawing tourists.

Most of the paintings to be exhibited are from private European collections and have never been shown in the U.S.  The exhibition will feature 40 works by Canaletto, Guardi and other grand masters who painted in Rome and Venice.

Swissair will be flying in the paintings from the Walpole Gallery in London, and also will be bringing Giovanni Fabbri, founder of Fratelli Fabbri Editori cultural publishing company and an Italian art expert.

For more information about opportunities for sponsorships, please call Lloyd Nick, the museum’s director, at (404) 364-8447.