Adopt an Artist – the project that never was (2011)

Adopt an Artist Logo Graphic by Fiona MacNeill. Creative Commons License – ShareAlike (UK: (USA:

Adopt an Artist was an ambitious project based on a modern-day twist of the patron system which was at its height during the Italian Renaissance. There were a couple of nice visual and performance offshoots. The original project description is included below.

Project Description
Adopt an Artist is a project about the nature of patronization when applied to contemporary arts practice. I initially devised the idea in 2006 when researching the renaissance art of 16th Century, Italy and the wealthy families who provided individual artists with financial support for their work. The main question which emerged from my research was: what if an interpersonal patronization model were in place today and how has modern arts funding changed? I started to examine what could be seen as modern-day patronization, which is constantly evolving, particularly in-light of the explosion of social media. A modern-day patron “likes” you on Facebook, follows your “tweets” and if you’re lucky attends at least one of your openings/performances per year. The mark of a true patron is someone who has a personal relationship and commitment, not necessarily monetary, to the artist. How can we as artists build these relationships, are there possible constituents whom we are ignoring? Adopt an Artist is a friendship fostering challenge, for myself and collaborators whom I engage in the project. The research will take the form of public performances (utilizing visual aesthetics influenced by politics, activism and charitable campaigns), interviews with real-life patrons and funding organizations with a view to informing my friend-making strategies and three community clinics (micro exhibition events, one-nighters) where artists and I will engage local communities in alternative spaces to explore the notion of friend-making and self-justification through our work. My eventual hope is that these small scale research activities will lead to a larger collaborative project and publication based on the research.