Patronage, Not Parentage

In a recent blog post for Americans for the Arts, Sofia Perez, the editorial director of the Clark Hulings Foundation, wrote about the shrinking hoops that artists must jump through to survive financially. As she noted, individual artists received less than 5% of the grant dollars awarded in 2014 by nonprofits or state arts agencies for arts-related work. That’s a very small slice of the pie. The fact that artists are often required to have fiscal sponsors in order to receive these funds further cuts into the dollar amount that actually makes it to its intended destination.

These financial constraints underscore the importance of our commitment to ensuring that working artists become thriving artists. We see art as a business, and artists as entrepreneurs who are striving to build self-sustaining enterprises. For a visual artist, getting his/her work framed or cast is not a luxury, but a necessity. And like other professionals, artists require training, continued education, connections, and funding to ensure that their businesses get off the ground, which is exactly why we began our Business Accelerator program.

Artists need support to bring their careers to the next level–not “big brother” standing over their shoulder, watching their every move. We view our relationship with our grant finalists as a partnership, one in which they offer as much as they get, sharing lessons learned, and giving back to the community we are building together.

Learn more about our work and approach to investing in American art from Elizabeth Hulings, the director of the Clark Hulings Foundation.

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Sofia Perez
A journalist and writer/editor with more than 25 years of experience, Sofia Perez has written for nearly every type of media and genre--from print and web publications, to TV, nonprofit advocacy, and fiction--and understands firsthand how important it is for creative professionals to learn basic business skills if they are to support their artistic endeavors.

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