Many people hear the word “patron” and their mind travels to archaic royal or papal courts. Others envision extremely wealthy heirs of robber-baron fortunes. Nevertheless, today’s version of patronage is wildly different from those illusions. Even young artists can consult their spending plan and make wise patronage decisions. That is why the day 18 challenge is to become a patron in your field.
There are four chief motives for financial giving:
Pleasure: The patron appreciates the art form and gives financially to see it continue.
Status: The patron shares in the success of the artists and enjoys the distinction of being associated with that musician, ensemble, or organization.
Charity: The patron is driven by the moral and virtuous feelings of giving. More-often associated with other forms of donation, but can be applicable to the arts.
Profit: The patron is using an investment approach to their giving. Giving financially now could ultimately affect the giver’s bottom line in the future.
With the advent of crowd-sourced funding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, it is easier than ever to become involved with micro-patronage. Even your $5.00 contribution is appreciated and helpful. Go ahead, click through and find a project that strikes your fancy. There are thousands of creative projects looking for people to make their ideas come to life. Everything from creating children’s opera to raising recording funds to documentary films can be a potential project that needs you as a patron.
You may think to yourself, “But, I’m the artist. I need people to be my patron.” Yes, of course, we all need others to support us emotionally and financially. Still, “patron” comes from the Latin for “father” and it is part of our responsibility to the art form to father our artistic endeavors into the future. One of the best ways to be a patron as a young artist is to commission work. This type of patronage could spring from all four of the chief motives listed above. The process requires that you research composers and review their recent work. You will draw up some sort of framework that includes a broad-spectrum subject/instrumentation, deadlines, and payment. After the commissioned work is complete you can work with other musicians and venues to make the performance happen which will further the recognition of everyone involved.
As with any investments, make sure that you are making wise spending decisions. Do not end up impoverished because you were a foolish patron. Also, due diligence is necessary when you are helping to fund creative projects. Make sure that you trust the organization or artists to do right by the capital that you are providing. Your voice is always amplified when money is involved; remember our Valentine’s Day challenge to spend on what you really love and become a patron for your art form.