... a sponsor or maecenas
In the past some artists had a Maecenas, or patron. This Maecenas was a private individual, an admirer of your work who altruistically supported you financially with frequent purchases of your work or with a monthly allowance.
This romantic tradition is pretty much extinct now. Yet it still happens occasionally that an art collector, friend or family member takes on a similar role on a modest scale.
Since recently budgets for sponsorship and subsidies seem to be getting smaller, you hear more about the need for a modern kind of maecenas in the media. Not only in visual arts but other art forms as well.
A sponsor is another story. A sponsor may want to invest in your work, project or event as long as there is something in it for him/her. This usually involves name brand recognition, building up an image of creativity or showing visible social involvement.
In this way, for instance, an insurance company builds up its image and its clientele by sponsoring large-scale cultural projects and paying for the advertising. A small framing business that supplies galleries with free frames in exchange for mentioning its name on invitations is achieving the same result.
You can often profit from such established arrangements, but you can also actively seek out businesses which could benefit from sponsoring your work.
Examples of sponsoring
- Someone who works with gelatine can appeal to a gelatine factory with a good promotion plan in hand. If a lot of attention can be generated through exhibitions and publications, then the factory may be willing to supply the material in exchange for mentioning the brand name on posters, etc.
- You can approach the local merchants in your area: a flower painter who is sponsored by the local florist in exchange for some flower studies in his shop window.
- Some manufacturers are not too wretched to give you their ‘waste’ (for example iron, cardboard or plastic).