In this two-part blog entry, our intern, Max Granitz, ruminates about the meaning of patronage and support, both external and internal. Artists have needed patrons for as long as people have tried to make a living bringing art to human civilization. Art needs the support of those who enjoy it. While big donations are great (and we would love to have them!), you can support the arts by buying a ticket, or hiring a performance troupe, like GEM Theatrics, to bring a production to your organization or venue. Support the arts! You'll be glad you did!
In the second part, Max shares a personal experience about how tough it is to maintain a constant performing life. It's an experience he grew from, and we applaud him for sharing it!
By Max Granitz
As I have said before, I have had the pleasure of being in the audience for many incredible performances: from West Michigan all the way to London’s West End. Now, I may not have a guaranteed future working around the theater directly. However, I make it a point to always be a supporter of the arts.
It is one thing to simply attend a performance, with the sole intention of going for the show itself. But as someone who has been on both sides of the curtain, so to say, there is a difference between attending a performance, and being a patron of the arts. The definition of patron, however, is not necessarily someone who puts a lot of money towards a specific work. A patron is someone who, while attending a performance, considers all that went into making it happen.
There is a lot that goes into making a performance happen. Before the curtain rises, the cast spends a minimum of a month in rehearsal, the costume designers and set designers spend hours creating the world in which the actors live on-stage, and the directors and other creative team members work to make it all a success. And do not forget the playwright, and, in the case of a musical, the composer(s), lyricist(s), and musical director(s), who most likely put years into crafting the words the cast speak/sing.
The next time you are in the audience, whether at a university, at a local theater, or even in Chicago or New York, think about all this. Patronage can be a lot of things, depending who you ask. It can be just buying a ticket; it can be acting as sole financial backer of a large-scale production. However, true patronage, coming from someone who’s seen both sides, is appreciating, truly, the work of all who made the performance happen. If you can understand this, you are an arts patron, regardless of economic commitment to a performance.