Patronage and the Arts

I’ve always joked about how we need to bring back a patronage system to allow artists the time to create while still having enough funds to fill their bellies. Then this morning, I saw that Jason Shiga, creator of awesome stories like Bookhunter and Meanwhile (which I reviewed here ) is actively seeking patrons at http://www.patreon.com. You can check out his page here . What’s interesting about this system is that, unlike Kickstarter, it doesn’t seem to be linked to a single project or deliverable. . All of the artists I’ve previewed give patrons some special access or item that is not available to the general public, but it’s not a direct one-for-one exchange. The focus is on making small (as low as $1.00 a month), regular payments to the artist of your choice. Using this model, if an artist was able to get enough patrons, he or she could have a steady income and be free of the scramble to produce, sell, get paid and produce again before the money from the first job runs out. It’s a direct method of supporting creative efforts and a way to be sure that 100% of the money you’re giving goes directly to the artist. I’m very interested to see how a model like this works, as it could give people a different way to be creative consumers – a chance to sponsor the creative process and not just the tangible result.

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Patronage and the Arts

  1. yes, ma’am! Patronage used to be relatively selfless (aside from having your name tossed around in arts circles). now everyone expects a free digital copy of whatever and dinner with the artist or something.

    • You’re right on about the prestige thing – it seems like before the only way to be recognized (by anyone) for your patronage was to give copious amounts of money. Most people can’t drop a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars to support an artist they like, but now they can be recognized for spending a couple of bucks a month.

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