Merriam-Webster defines a patron as:
a : a person chosen, named, or honored as a special guardian, protector, or support ~ a patron of the arts
b : a wealthy or influential supporter of an artist or writer
Artists and writers of the past had patrons who contributed money to them so they could keep creating art and/or keep writing, without having to flip burgers at Mickey D's to keep the electricity on or to keep food on the table.
William Shakespeare didn't have flip burgers - his patrons were Queen Elizabeth and King James I.
Members of the Medici Family were also great patrons, supporting da Vinci, Micheangelo, and many others over the generations.
King Saul was a patron of the arts.
Mozart and Beethoven had patrons.
Ambroise Vollard served as patron to many artists, including Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pablo Picasso.
The thought that these artists and writers and creators may never have been known today if not for their patrons is rather mind-boggling.
In his article, The Lost Art of Patronage, Charles Erlandson writes, "The concept of the patron in the arts is crucial to an understanding of the arts. More than this, we as Christians must understand our calling to patronize the arts if we are ever to reclaim the domain of the arts for Christ and His kingdom."
Today, some artists and writers are able to tap into grants to provide for some of their support, but grants are limited. (Funds for Writers is a great resource to locate grants.) Grant writing is a special breed of writing in and of itself, and requires a lot of time to assemble required packets. Some grants may be worth the time and effort, but writers and artists must weigh the costs of spending time and resources to put together grant packages for the possibility vs. the time taken away from actually creating.
I recently discovered another option, and I'm thrilled to announce that, while I'm admittedly no Shakespeare or Picasso, I've joined the 50,000 (or so) other creators on Patreon, where I'm now known as The Thriving Artist!
This video does a good job of explaining what Patreon is and how it works:
The best thing about Patreon? You don't have to be a royal or the wealthy elite to be a patron of the arts! Patrons pledges usually start in the $1 to $5 range per month or per project, and go upwards from there. I think the most expensive level I've seen so far is $150 a month.
Creators choose whether to set their reward levels by project or by month - and both ways are popular, depending on what the creator is actually doing.
I chose to set my reward levels by the month - I do so many different things, from freelance writing, screenwriting, book writing to photography and photo art - that I knew I would be producing several projects a month and it could get confusing for patrons, so I decided the monthly option was much simpler.
I also set very basic reward levels of $2, $5, $10, $25, and $50. Yes, you can become a patron of the arts - my personal patron - for as little as $2 a month! Quite a bargain, I think.
Setting the rewards was fun and I decided to get a little creative with the reward level names.
Anyone who knows me or my websites knows I love tulips, so I set named each reward level a different kind of tulip. I will now be on the hunt for the different kinds so I can take pictures of them to put on Patreon!
[I went to a local store to take photos. I found a gorgeous display of tulips and asked if I could take pictures for a project. They gave me permission so I started snapping away. Then I began reading the labels in and on the pots: red tulip, pink tulip, yellow tulip, purple tulip. Ha! No names of any kind! But the tulips were all the same kind - just different colors, so I'm going to have to look elsewhere.]
I invite you to come over to The Thriving Artist and learn about the different rewards I'm currently offering. I appreciate your consideration on becoming one of my patrons. I'm excited to see where this journey will lead!
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher
Our Trip to La Jolla
Dreaming of Vacation?
My Inner Artist
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.