Under our current presidential administration we are facing the likelihood of loss of federal funding for the arts through entities like the National Endowment for the Arts. In Rochester, MN, where there is a strong arts presence, these cuts will have a profound impact. Recently, we participated in a community awareness event where citizens and musicians from the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale gather to sing an impromptu Hallelujah Chorus to show that we are opposed to cuts in funding for the arts. See a short video here.
I feel very fortunate to live in a community filled with artists, art collaboratives, musicians, and performance venues. As I become friends with more and more local artists and musicians, I see them all struggling to expand their audiences and earn enough financial support to keep them going. Some use GoFundMe or Kickstarter to fund specific projects, like a studio renovation for Gallery 24 or producing a new music CD. Recently, I learned of a new platform called Patreon. I have two musician friends who are using Patreon to fund musical education projects. The model is a little different from Kickstarter, where you pledge a one-time contribution. When you support a Patreon artist, you are pledging a monthly amount for a length of time you choose. Pledge amounts are often very small, such as $1 per month (honestly, as little as that!) to support the artist’s goals. As with any crowdsourcing or crowdfunding endeavor, it takes a lot of little pledges to add together.
If arts funding through federal grants is going to be even more scarce (there was a lot of demand for limited NEA funds as it was), then can a grass roots effort take its place? I hope so, even as I stand firm in my belief that the federal government should also support the arts.
While Fox and Swan Arts is a business, it is also a vehicle for supporting local arts and music efforts. We’ve contributed to the Rochester Symphony, which we very much enjoy. We are members of the Rochester Arts Center, which has an affordable annual membership rate. Patreon gives us another vehicle that keeps us within our humble financial means to be true to the Fox and Swan Arts values statement, “We support local small businesses, nonprofit organizations, artists, and musicians.”
Please find a way within your financial means to support local artists and musicians. Here are links to two of the musicians we support on Patreon:
Patreon page for Fred Keller and The Deep North featuring The Skally Line
Patreon page for Tim Cheesebrow