Episode 156 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Preparing the Budget Sheet

Chapter 9

Working with Sponsors and Private Patrons

Isn’t this the holy grail for artist funding? To have a private patron is the dream of many artists. Or at least they believe it is. It has the ring of what we imagine a trust fund would be like, or the romantic stories we have heard about artists living off the regular patronage of one wealthy donor. The truth is that the relationship of artist to wealthy donor is still alive and well, and it is something that I use to support myself. I will outline how you can create that kind of relationship. Like any other methods, it will take work and dedication, but it can also be fun and very rewarding.

Who Can Help?

First, there is the question of who could possibly help you. Depending on where you live in the world, you have to begin to make a list of people who could be potential patrons. Generally, these are people with an interest in the arts and deep pockets. One of the places to meet them would be at your local museum or art institution. Go to the openings at all museums. Go to opening receptions at any center as well as art-related events. Remember who you are looking for; people who don’t look like the artist’s friends, people who look like they have money! The way to organize yourself even better is to keep a list with pictures of everyone who might be a potential donor. The way to get that list is to begin thinking about who it is in your area that is interested in the arts and has money. One method that I use and mentioned earlier is to go to the museum or art centers and find their website and look at the list of donors. There is also a board of directors listed or a group of donors that are the top level. These are the people you want to meet. All the donors to museums are people who could potentially be a patron and help support your work.

Begin by making a list of the people in your area that are donors to the art centers and museums. Search their names on the web and print out a page with their picture on it. Most likely you will be able to find a picture of them on the web, but if not, just print out a page with their names on it and whatever information you have about them, like what museum or institution they are associated with and what social, artistic, or other causes they donate money to. Then go out and talk to them at parties and at openings. OK, for most of you, that is the hard part, talking to people you do not know at openings. Well, I know it is, and I will give you some steps to take here, but you have to be bold and brave. It isn’t easy for anyone, but this is how the relationship with a patron gets started.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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