Patron of the Arts

No, I’m not giving money to a needy artist– I don’t have enough for this needy artist– but I have an idea.

I’ve been thinking about the system used years ago when wealthy people would pay to have their own personal artists or composers or whatever– what if we could make something like that work today. Here’s my system.

Firstly, artists have to register and have some type of proof that they are working in the field they say they are, though they don’t have to be making money from it. So me. I have a hard drive full of writing, so I would qualify.

Companies can then sponsor me. We draw up a contract for say, $50,000 (obviously I’m a great negotiator), stating that in one year, I will have a salable novel for them to see. (I’m not an idiot, so my contract would say salable, not published.) And that any money I make up to that contracted amount goes back to the company.

So, what’s really in it for the company? Firstly, the original contracted amount is not included in their yearly profit. And secondly, any money they make from the artwork is tax free as well.

Obviously $50,000 is a lot of money but the contract could be for something more reasonable– $20,000. Enough for the artist to contribute to the household while pursuing the art full time. This gets them off government benefits (if they were on them), and allows them to concentrate on their art. This in turn is good for the country because art of all kinds adds financially and culturally to nation.

As well as a potential profit the sponsoring companies get good PR and advertising because if I went to any events (Brisbane Writer’s Festival) I’d be shouting my sponsor’s name from the roof tops. I’d be wearing their shirt and smoking their cigarettes (or whatever). And when I got a book published they could put their ads in their as well (as long as it’s in the contract).

So, what do you think? What would we have to do to get the government to give up some of those taxes? How many companies could we convince of the idea? How many ads can you put in a book or on a CD cover or on guitar or how many Woolworths stores can an artist paint before it becomes crass? Does a spaceship called The Benson and Hedges roll nicely off the tongue? Perhaps a novel about a bank employee who helps his customers?

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