There are some that pursue their passion for the visual arts with a strong background and the privilege of money to fall back on. However, the larger number is of the artists who do not have that kind of luxury. The backgrounds may vary, but pursuing art as a profession has a strong cost attached to it.
It is for this reason that most artists look for a source to fund themselves. Historically this has happened when the royalty supported chosen artists and shaped up their careers. Today that position has been taken by institutions financial or non-profit, individuals who take on the role of new age or contemporary patrons of the arts.
It is mutually beneficial as this funding more often than not turns into an investment with certain returns, making it a popular trend of investment where a passion for the arts combines with business acumen to bring about a flourishing artistic path. The funds may come in the form of loans from the institutions or in the form of a return on investment depending on the kind of contract that is drawn up between the two.
Financial institutions such as banks have recently started taking an interest in the arts and its funding. They have begun to commit to cultural institutions that are critical in the revitalization of transitional neighborhoods in particular. Arts or cultural institutions related to the arts are the ones that are hardest hit by any economic low as they fall outside the gamut of traditional charities. With the banks taking an interest in the cultural capital of the nation or communities with funding, scholarships and other support packages, they see some light of day.
Some of the banks have their own corporate collections which they lend out to museums or galleries exposing them to the communities. They provide grants and funds for conservation projects and some also collaborate with art institutions to encourage sensitivity and awareness about arts leading higher investment being channeled into the arts.
The non-profits fund the arts which in turn has its own sources to garner those funds. There are three wide categories of sources of the funds their earned income, philanthropic grants or funding through individuals or institutions and direct government subsidies.
Their earned income comes from their program service revenues comprising of ticket sales, admission, subscriptions, program ads and gift shop sales which may account for almost half of the revenue they garner. Contributions from private donors include individuals, foundations or corporations. The government subsidies and sources also amount to a sizable chunk of their entire funds.
Patrons or art enthusiasts with means take it upon themselves to support budding artists in their own creative ways. Donations and patronage is one way to do it. However, the times are changing and so is the trend in the ways they support an artist. Art is a nouveau trend in investment where the patrons fund an artist with a vision of future returns.
In return of their generous funding, the patrons get the first access, part ownership, hefty discounts, fame or any other kind of benefit that might have been worked out in the respective contracts. It is becoming increasingly popular to invest in art as even when the stock market plunges, art market is only slightly affected by it.
Galleries are the business end of the arts world. An artist showcases his work, a critic critiques it & the buyers or collectors acquire their desired pieces here in the galleries. The galleries earn their livelihood through the business of art.
The galleries are known to spot, recognize, patronize and fund budding artists in their initial years by investing in them through various means. The space to showcase, the marketing and providing the right kind of network is offered to these artists and a lot of money is spent in shaping them up. Though the artists themselves do pay a paltry sum to the galleries at times, but majorly it is the investment of the galleries.
The act is certainly not limited to their kindness or their intent to promote art & culture. There is an assured return on the investment they make through these artists. Experts at the galleries with a knack for spotting talent or genius make the right choices, furthering their economic gains once the artists begin to succeed in their career and gain fame of their own. The galleries have contractual agreements with these artists where they can make money off of them as the artists reach their own personal peaks.
Museums, specifically the art museums are the hub of arts and a mecca for the artists. Motivated by the intent to promote arts and budding or struggling artists, museums do have their own programs that fund and support them.
Through special showcases and strategic residency programs museums have been known to shape up entire careers of budding artists who owe their progress to them. The returns that the museum get are mostly through lending of art or donation of artworks from these artists as they make a name for themselves later. Some artists have also been known to take on commissioned art projects as a contribution to the museum as a payback for their support in tougher times.
The artists who reach their personal peaks and are honored by the title of maestros have mostly known what it was like to have to struggle at the initial phases of their careers. The maestros who have secured a place in the famed and fabled world of the arts often take on protégés who they fund and present as their very own.
The credibility and the financial support extended to these protégés gives them the push and a necessary platform to showcase their talent. The maestros get their return either in terms of the time that a protégé puts in helping the maestro work or in kind through his works that he presents to his maestro.
Comparatively a novel concept where a platform is created to showcase the concept or talent of the artist to a virtual audience. The audience or a group of them contribute any amount they choose towards completion of the project for the artist in return of proportional returns, mostly in kind.
Some may get preview of the real work at different stages of its progress, some may get a free ticket and others free tickets and access to the artist depending on the size of the contribution.
IMPACT & BENEFITS
Arts or the artists are known to have not only an aesthetic sensibility but also an evolved sensitivity towards the social scenario they are a part of. With this sensitivity, the artists are gifted with the ability to express which helps them do their bit for the social rise of the community.
When art is funded by the right people especially with a social cause, issues of social concern are highlighted and hence are brought open for a dialogue and discussion. This dialogue or discussion opens up possibilities for a much needed social change and evolution.
An individual who is a non-artist member of the community and is exposed to the art that is funded at the right time by the right people has a significant impact. An individual when exposed to visual arts or artists stands to gain a lot at a personal level. Emotional, intellectual and psychological stimulation leaves a lasting impact on them as they come out more aware and sensitive individuals after the experience.
A culture that is enclosed by tangible or intangible boundaries never evolves and slowly loses its identity disintegrating in the process. When art culture finds funding there is significant exposure and a two way exchange of knowledge, rituals and characteristic traits leading to a more evolved version of the same.
It is through art that the culture of any community is introduced to the rest of the world and the world too introduces itself. The boundaries or rigidity melts as each translates to the other and what results is stronger, deeper rooted and highly sustainable version of the same.
When art finds funding, an artist finds opportunities, people associated with him find employment and numerous dependent or auxiliary industries are benefitted and encouraged to do better and flourish. With a rise in opportunities, and employment there is definite rise in the investment that finds its way to the community in question. This series of events then leads to a healthier and more stable economy.
It has so happened that when art is funded the urban regeneration programs are significantly impacted in a positive manner. This then leads to a sturdier growth of the community as a whole even in the economic aspects as the scope of employment increases manifold.
WHY ENCOURAGE ART/ARTISTS?
Art or artists have a fresh perspective, they are inclined and trained to think creatively, out of the box and hence have the ability to observe more than a traditional perspective would. Art is a profession that takes more from you than give you when we talk about it in a purely financial manner. When encourages, it is the artists who have given the first voice to the concerns or scenario of any contemporary society.
It is through art that the youth finds expression or a channel to express or vent out their frustration. Art is probably the most non-aggressive medium to express opinions and start a debate that has been known to bring in revolutions.
WHY FUND ART/ARTISTS?
When we fund an artist or the arts, what is it that we can expect or hope to see? There is a lot that comes from the act of funding an artist or an art related organization or art in general, in any form. When they are funded comfortably we can see the organizations or artists exploring new practices with minimal or no stress to their precarious financial situation and/or reputation. An enhanced and sustainable artistic future with a more sound funding/earned income base with an evolved profile, skills, and network is a definite outcome. New set of explorations or practices presents the audiences and the participants with a better and novel experience. It is due to the funding that there is an impetus for a genuine, long-term social change paving future pathways for participants of all capacities. When an artist or an art related organization finds funding, there is a scope for continued engagement opportunities for the participants as the barriers meltdown through their involvement.