When you hear the words “patron of the arts” are you like me and think of someone like Queen Elizabeth or a multimillionaire from New York or LA? While people like these are patrons of the arts, did you know that you can be an art patron as well? You do not have to be rich or famous to support arts in your community! A patron is simply someone who supports an individual, organization, cause, or activity. Here are a few ways you can be a patron of the arts in your community.
Open mics, live bands, and festival performances are great ways to support local artists. Clap, sing along, and be a positive audience. My husband and I have recently started attending Greenbean Coffee House Open Stage on Thursday nights. We’re always amazed at the level of talent that performs each week. If you are willing to pay a little more, attend a concert put on by area organizations. Did you know Altoona has a symphony orchestra? I didn’t and I love the symphony and have plans on going soon. PennState Altoona also hosts public performances that are definitely worth checking out. During the summer, the Railroaders Museum hosts food and live music almost every Friday night.
Maybe visual arts is something you would like to be a patron of. Public libraries often show artwork produced by area artists. I live in Altoona PA so I can see artwork shown at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Arts, the Clay Cup, and LaVintage Decore Studio as just a few examples. In Hollidaysburg, you can check out 321 Gallery on Allegheny Street. If you go to a formal art opening, be sure to meet the artist and have them talk to you about their work.
Support Through Social Media
Use the power of social media to help area artists! Using social media is one of the easiest ways to become a patron of the arts. While social media can never replace interpersonal interaction, it can greatly benefit artists. Find artist on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you see a post you enjoy be sure to like it, leave a comment, and share it with your friends. By doing these things, you help artists connect with other artists, potential clients, and area organizations.
Next time you need a gift for an event or something new for your home consider buying from local artists. Buying locally can take a little more planning than picking something up at the superstore last minute but the benefits far outweigh any negatives. When we buy from local artists we help keep them in business! We can help eliminate the term “starving artist” by purchasing a homemade made card, a CD, or art print. Remember if you think something is too expensive, artisan items are not mass produced, it is a product of someone’s passion for their craft, and your purchase may be the only source of income they get for the day.
Volunteer Time to Organizations that Support the Arts
Want to be a patron of the arts in a big way? Volunteering at an organization that supports the arts is a perfect way for you to get involved. You do not have to be an artist to volunteer, just be willing to help in any way. Volunteers are how organizations such as ArtsAltoona are able to support local arts and culture. To volunteer with ArtsAltoona sign up for our newsletter and check the “I am interested in volunteering with ArtsAltoona” box. Click on this link to get signed up now: https://www.artsaltoona.org/get-involved/join-mailing-list/
I hope this article gives you some good pointers on how to be a patron of the arts right here in Blair County. There are many more events, galleries, stores, and organizations than I could share in this article. Go check them out and share in the comments below how you are or want to become a patron of the arts.