Just a quick thought today. I’ve been thinking about how artists and arts organizations undervalue themselves each time they feel funny about asking for support from their patrons. “I don’t want to bother people,” said one of my clients. “I feel strange asking for money,” said another.
Asking for support may not be your forte, but there may be a block for doing so simply based on not valuing yourself and your art. This could mean that you never stopped to think about the service you give to your community through your art.
Art and what it does for our communities is valuable. When you know how valuable your gifts are, it will be easier to find the people to support you. Try sitting down and doing some research to get some honest estimates to what your art and service may actually be worth. You can take into consideration the worth of the art through productions costs and the going rates for purchase. I would also consider how your art supports the education of our children, the continuing education for adults, and how it supports your local economy (you can get estimates of the before and after social events if applicable). Just think of how the arts in general contribute to our emotional well being on various levels and how the arts contribute vastly to our humanity. It’s difficult to put a price on something so valuable, but ask yourself what these benefits are worth to you.
You will find when you do this exercise that your art is very valuable! You can use this new knowledge to boost your confidence. Then, when it comes time to ask for support, you will feel more comfortable and people will want to donate for the special services you provide. They are not giving to charity, they are giving because they also see that you and your art are worth it.
Your art and offerings are valuable. You as an artist are valuable. You simply need to start valuing yourself to get the support you need. The people who will want to support you and your art are sure to follow!
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”