Patrons of Another Kind
John W. Bateman
Patronage doesn't require a hefty bank account.
Does that surprise you? There are several ways to help artists beyond simply buying their works. Consider this list, posted by a friend, which identifies steps people can take to support writers and that don't cost money.
When I first read this list, I realized how many of these ideas apply across a range of disciplines. The underlying concept is simple: support an artist with exposure. Visibility. Publicity.
Of course book sales are important. Books sales from small and independent presses and self-published authors are even more important (although Amazon is easy, royalties are often calculated off the publisher's net receipts, which means the author's royalties on books sold through Amazon often drop into the pennies). Artists earn a living by selling their product, no different than how a dentist or architect or shopkeeper or mechanic sells their services and widgets.
Exposure is also important. It doesn't require a degree in communications or public relations. It simply requires a little time and phone call (or two), and perhaps a pesky social media post.
Rethinking the above list, here's an approach across multiple forms of art that can help support artists (in addition to buying their works, of course):
If you are able to buy, then consider buying directly from the artist when possible. Give the book, the album, the tickets to a show, or the prints as gifts to friends and family. But remember that patronage is simply another fancy word for "support" and it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and forms.
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