How to get corporate sponsors?
July 24, 2008 12:02 PM   Subscribe

In a nutshell: I'm an artist who got trapped in a day job and I no longer have enough available time to create new work. I'd like to raise money from corporate sponsors to help fund a 10 month period where I would paint some new work and then have it exhibited at my local museum. I am not interested in applying for grants because I already know it would be a waste of time for the type art I do. I guess what I need is guidance, tips, or at least a success story to give me some encouragement. Thanks.
posted by Perihelion to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
what type of work do you do?

getting sponsorship for, say, large-scale steel fabrications might be a different proposition than, say, getting sponsorship for dog and horse portraits.
posted by wreckingball at 12:15 PM on July 24, 2008

Response by poster: Large scale oil paintings, usually figures, but they are fairly realistic and from an extensive grant search, I can see that my work would not be considered academic enough to attract grant support.
posted by Perihelion at 12:19 PM on July 24, 2008

Whether you apply for grants or approach a corporation, 99% of them aren't going to give you sponsorship purely out of the goodness of their hearts, especially if it's just so you don't have to work for 10 months. They are definitely going to want something out of the deal to benefit themselves, and you'll need to convince them why they should invest in you. You might end up writing those grant applications regardless. Can you find a big office building that needs art on the walls? Would you be willing and able to make the kind of art for people you don't normally do to support what you do want to do?
posted by girlmightlive at 12:40 PM on July 24, 2008

Have friends at advertising companies? Marketing / branding companies? Because lots of corporations are looking for novel (read: not tv spots or billboards or magazine ads) ways to reach their customers. And this might be just the thing they're looking for. But blindly putting together a proposal for this might not ever reach the right CMO (chief marketing officer) type person. So you need to find / develop an "in" ...

Also, think creatively about how who you'd pitch this to, and what ways the company / brand could be "a part of the action" not a logo stencilled on the wall, in the brochure, etc. For example, since your work is large, perhaps a transportation company (like "overnite", which is actually a unit of UPS) is a good fit. Another idea for works that are large scale is to design the work to be seen from various heights and vantage points (i.e., a ladder company, or a company that rents scaffolding?). Yet another idea is finding a glass company that might want to help you frame a 20' x 20' piece. Perhaps this could go wrong in some way and come across as cheesy. But I don't think that many companies want to commission 10 paintings (and pay an artist 10 months of salary ... which all might go up in smoke) just for the rights to hang their logo outside the gallery. You'll have to make it either part of something bigger, or make the company's participation / product / brand-vibe part of the artistic work.

Here's some work that Minami did at a gallery in NYC (for Sharp's AQUOS line of TVs). It was cool. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether it was a "successful" case study.
posted by zpousman at 12:50 PM on July 24, 2008

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