Patronage: become an artist’s VIP and patron

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There are many ways to support artists. In this series of posts, I’ve recommended buying art and a number of ways to like, share, and review the work of artists. Plus, as I’ve already said, there are a lot of ways to back artists that I won’t be able to cover in three short blog posts. Many of you — artists and fans — know great ways to show support, so please offer those insights in the comments.

Crowdfunding

Artists have turned to the kickstarter approach to keeping their art alive. When sites like PledgeMusic and Indiegogo first came on the scene, many in arts circles expressed concern about having to use these for making music and fine art. So many of us have set up a crowdfund now that I no longer hear reservations about using this method to create art.

Arts crowdfunding can take so many forms: from the funding of a single piece of art or performance to the making of a full-blown artistic brand. Some artists are as creative with their crowdfunding as they are with their art! The artist adds rewards to each campaign. These are often as simple as a copy of the song or a print of the artwork, but there are endless ideas for these reward levels as well.

Since you’ve already followed your favorite artists on all of the social networks <wink>, you’ll know when they set up a new crowdfund. They are sure to share any new campaigns on their Twitter and FaceBook pages. Once you join the crowdfunding sites, they’ll be happy to update you about other artists who are also funding for their art and causes. For example, I get notified if a friend contributes to a campaign or when there is a new campaign that has some similarity to one I gave to in the past. This is a great way to learn about other artists.

Patronage

Another form of crowdfunding takes the form of ongoing contributions to the artist. These may be called subscriptions, VIP clubs, or — my favorite — a patronage. Though it’s an ancient concept, this approach was made popular in recent years by Patreon.

I am a former customer of Patreon. Unfortunately, that relationship did not end well. After baffling months of making very little income from my presence there (in spite of a reasonable number of patrons), I gave up on their platform and started using BandCamp’s VIP program. In spite of higher fees (15% – BandCamp – instead of 5%+4% – Patreon) and fewer patrons, I received more income in my first three months with BandCamp than I did in my last nine months with Patreon.

You may know artists on any of several platforms who would welcome your patronage. While it’s not for everyone due to the monthly or annual cost, I highly recommend it as a way to help art to thrive.

How else do you support art?

I’d enjoy hearing the other ways you support artists and their art. Please leave a comment with the ways you provide your artistic patronage. And thanks for reading and sharing this post!

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