While most creative artists labor in obscurity, when breakthroughs happen, those artists often get all the credit. But the truth is, in so many cases, without the financial help and personal encouragement of patrons, those breakthroughs would have never happened. Today, it simply takes money to build an influential platform or allow the freedom to create.
Had Pope Julius not been prodding and pushing Michelangelo, the breathtaking Sistine Chapel would have never happened.
Collector Peggy Guggenheim played a pivotal role in launching the career of Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock.
The business, religious, educational, entrepreneurial, family, and other supporters of creative people have been instrumental in the development of great creative projects throughout history.
And patronage comes in many forms. Remember how newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst directed his newspapers to “Puff Graham” when Billy Graham arrived for his legendary Los Angeles crusade. Who’s to say how much longer it would have taken for his ministry to pick up steam without that promotional support?
If you’re an artist, find a patron, because few things in your career will be as important. And if you’re not an artist, explore the ways you can make a difference in the life of creative people around you. Direct financial support, free or cheap living, office, or studio space, personal encouragement, networking them with other people or resources who could help, and more.
Creativity doesn’t live in a vacuum. Often, all it needs is a kickstart that creates the combustion that launches great ideas into the world.