Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: People often ask me why I have given so much of my energy, time and enthusiasm to Wesley Seminary over the years. The reason is brought out by the historical difference between being a “supporter” and a “patron.” Here’s an explanation of the difference from an interview by Fred Smith, president of The Gathering, an international association of foundations giving to Christian ministries with Roberta Green Ahmanson, a former newspaper religion reporter who writes on the relationships between art, religion and culture.
“From Donors to Patrons – A Conversation: Recovering patronage as partnership” by Fred Smith and Roberta Green Ahmanson, The Comment Magazine, Cardus Communication (a faith-based think tank), 8/3/18.
… I called Roberta Green Ahmanson and we had a conversation about what it means to be considered a patron and what the role of the patron is—not just in the arts but in every discipline.
Fred Smith: Let’s jump right into it. What is a patron?
Roberta Green Ahmanson: A patron is not only one giving financial support but who gives influential support, favour, encouragement to a person, institution, work, or art. From ancient times to the present, governments, institutions both secular and sacred, and individuals have been patrons of the arts. They have done it to deify themselves, to entrench social order, to maintain or increase status, to feel good, to benefit others, to foster the art they love … and sometimes even to glorify God.
A patron is not only one giving financial support but who gives influential support, favour, encouragement to a person, institution, work, or art.
FS: …It’s not a self-centered fascination with being considered a patron. It’s also more than investing in art for the return. There is something deeper in the relationship with the artist, I would assume.
RGA: Absolutely! … Patrons put their money and themselves out there and hope and work for the best. You are doing it for the love and joy of the work first, not for the return. A donor could be giving out of benevolence or mild interest, whereas a patron wants to participate and help guide the enterprise. A patron has almost a parental feel to it in terms of care, love, and truth-telling. A patron has more stake in the game. They don’t lose interest so easily.
A donor could be giving out of benevolence or mild interest, whereas a patron wants to participate and help guide the enterprise.
… I think that’s what we would both describe as an essential difference between donors and patrons. Patrons are in a unique relationship with both the art and the artist. It is not only supporting the art but, at times, being co-creators, critics, and in the original sense of the word, advocates. That is why not every artist wants a patron and would prefer having major donors…
Read more at … https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/from-donors-to-patrons-a-conversation/