About Art Micro Patronage
Art Micro-Patronage is an experimental online exhibition space featuring monthly curated shows of digital, new media, and intermedia work. As visitors navigate through the exhibitions, they are encouraged to become micro-patrons of the arts, associating their appreciation of the works with small monetary values. Patrons receive a link and image as recognition for their generosity and can easily keep track of works they've donated to via the AMP platform.
Our goal is to create a compelling platform for showcasing and supporting artists whose work is ideally experienced online.
Our Focus is Donorship, Not Ownership
Art Micro Patronage, as a platform, is part of an ongoing conversation about workable ways to present online artwork and support its makers. As an increasing number of artists choose to work with media that exists almost exclusively online, it’s important that we experiment just as voraciously to create systems to showcase as well as nurture their work. Your contributions allow us to continue innovating in the way we experience artwork.
While artists and makers are gaining ever more opportunities for exposure, the opportunities to get paid for their work are dwindling. As online appreciators, we are encouraged to show our thanks by sharing or reposting, with the promise that notoriety brings financial security. We're not fully convinced of this logic.
There needs to be a light at the end of this tunnel, because being "liked" doesn't yet pay the bills. That is why we built an alternate way to show appreciation, a way that enables creators to continue making wonderful things. With AMP, we want to make it as easy as possible to support great work.
Art Micro-Patronage is a project of The Present Group. The Present Group is Eleanor Hanson Wise and Oliver Wise. They are dedicated to finding new ways to fund and distribute artist projects. Founded in 2006, TPG runs an art subscription project that enables subscribers to support contemporary artists and receive limited edition artwork in return. They also award The Present Prize, an artist grant funded by web hosting.
Art Micro Patronage commissions curators to create one month shows of artwork ideally experienced online. As visitors navigate through the shows, they are encouraged to show their appreciation for a given piece by making a small donation to its creator. AMP is an experiment. We are starting with an initial round of 6 one-month shows.
How It Works:
There are three ways to become a Patron:
1. Pledge as you view the show and settle up at the end.
2. Fill a bank account ahead of time and disperse it when your fancy strikes. Your balance carries from show to show through the 6 month period. Any funds remaining at the close of the sixth show will be split evenly between all participating artists.
3. Skip micro pledging altogether and become a member. Paying a one time fee that is divided between all the artists in all 6 shows.
Pledges are made to Art Micro Patronage, which then pays the intended artists. Art Micro Patronage retains a small percentage in order to pay future curators and developers, pay transaction processing fees, and to maintain the site’s existence. In order to incentivize giving, larger donations result in a smaller percentage taken by AMP and higher fees for artists.
Patrons are able to access the works they've pledged to after the show has closed. Members can view all the shows. Patrons and members are recognized on the patrons page with an image and a link. They also enjoy continued access to the pieces they've pledged to along with their artist and curator interviews.
We have an open call for show proposals. In addition to being paid for your effort, we also set aside money for web development, so we can work with you to figure out the best viewing experience to suit the artworks’ particular needs.
We seek tightly curated shows of works that are ideally experienced on the internet. Shows can be organized thematically or formally. Some possibilities include (but are not limited to): artists working with twitter and facebook, digital artwork, video, sound, animated gifs, interactive works, web-based campaigns, physical works that address or involve the web in some way, documentary websites of artists working with intangibles. We would like these to be group shows of between 7-15 artists and we would like the curator to write 400 - 600 word intro to the exhibition. Shows will last 1 month.
Like to be a part of the next round?
Artists and their works are chosen by the curators. Artists are paid within two weeks of the close of their show, and again at the end of the six month round that they are a part of.
Works shown on AMP may or may not be exclusive content. Artists retain all rights to their work but allow patrons to access them via the AMP platform as long as the project exists. Patrons do not own nor have the right to publicly show the artists works.
What makes this platform different from artists asking for money on their personal Facebook page or their website?
AMP is intended to complement, rather than replace, existing avenues of support for artists working online. We want to promote the idea of associating appreciation with actual dollar amounts. While artists will always find creative ways to fundraise, via paypal buttons on their site, kickstarter, etc, there are features that we’ve built into this platform that we hope will not only attract a wider audience for their work, but also incentivize giving in a new way: through the ability to "collect" works and be publicly identified as an art patron.
Further, it is one thing for artists to display, sell, or give their work away for free on their own websites. It is another for a curator to thoughtfully bring together a group of artists working in the same vein. This is part of the value AMP provides. If you acknowledge that much of the traffic to an artist's website, at least at one point or another, is via some centralized intermediary like a blog, facebook, twitter or even google, then it is important to note that those intermediaries are set up to extract money from the free content artists are providing out of generosity of spirit, creative exuberance or in hopes of exposure. Instead of a system designed to extract, AMP is an attempt to create a system that puts money back in.
Why are they all group shows?
That is the area where we see the need. Anyone can view works of an individual artist online and there are plenty of blogs that highlight the work of one artist at a time. We’re interested in creating a space where curators can give some thought to this area of art making, write about it, and identify themes that are running through it.
How can I see the previous shows?
The only way to access past shows is by becoming a member. Memberships are sold in 6 month blocks, allowing members to view all the shows in the block.
How do I access the artist talks?
Artist talks are available and free for all to view while they are happening. Dates and times of talks will be published both on the curator’s page and in the info box for each work. If you have questions for the artist or curator, you can ask via twitter, with the hashtag #AMPatronage. After the talks are over, only patrons of that artist and members will be able to access the videos.
I really appreciate what you’re doing here. How can I help?
There are tons of ways to help. Share the shows and talk up the site. Donate to the artists in the shows. Donate to us. Make your donation tax deductible if you want (we’re fiscally sponsored). Become a sponsor of a show. Contribute to the conversation about these issues by writing about it in some way. Send us your ideas about how you think we could improve.
This platform is amazing! Who built it?
Thanks! Art Micro Patronage is a project by Oliver Wise and Eleanor Hanson Wise, artists who create hybrid systems that blur the line between art production, commerce, advocacy and philanthropy. They are the co-driectors of The Present Group, an organization dedicated to finding new ways to fund and distribute artist projects. Since 2006, their subscription art project has enabled a community of subscribers to fund artist projects and receive limited editions in return. They also award The Present Prize, an annual artist prize funded by web hosting.
Aren't you creating artificial scarcity by restricting access to works after the shows are over? The beauty of the internet is its decentralization. Isn’t this a step backwards?
We understand and believe in ideas of open source based practice, but one of the things that we have been grappling with is that in the art world there are more and more places where content is expected to be free. The culture pressures artists to make free content, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel where they are able to make a decent living as an artist. The way that we're addressing this with AMP is to allow people to donate and contribute at an extremely low price point. It only costs $.50 to maintain access to a work. In an ideal world, we could go even lower, but current processing fees and structures are prohibitive.
Lastly, while some shows will contain exclusive content, we consciously avoid restricting these works solely to our site. Artists have full control over that. Instead, we offer patrons the ability to keep track of the artists and works that they donate to as a way to build a "collection" of works they appreciate and revel in. Some of these works will exist independently from us both before and after the show, but the collection, the curated aspect, will not be available to view publicly forever.
Patrons donating to the artists will be able to access the works from “Their collection” through a login/password process. These patrons do not own the works, however do have the ability to privately view it as long as AMP exists. They do not have permission to show it publicly or resell it.
I'm having problems with the site. What should I do?
Email us. We're in beta so please let us know if something goes wrong.