Ever since the Renaissance, wealthy individuals have understood the benefits of supporting the arts, for reasons that range from the altruistic (improving the social good) to the mundane (increased visibility and prestige). Today, there are still patrons of the arts who make it their mission to support young artists by promoting and collecting their work. Here are some ways to find them.
Contact the Cue Art Foundation, located in New York City. This organization is dedicated to the support of unrecognized artists. It offers internships, solo exhibitions, residencies and development seminars in pursuit of this aim. Submitting an exhibition proposal to Cue is an excellent way to give your work immediate exposure, as the selections are made by a rotating council of curatorial advisors spread out across the country.
Apply for a grant with the Creative Capital Foundation. This foundation offers yearly grants in the fields of film/video and visual arts. Their approach is to provide a high level of financial support (initial funding begins at $10,000 and can increase depending on need and the scale of the project) as well as direct involvement with the artist's career, personal development and professional relationships. Applicants should be established professionals seeking to build on their accomplishments and increase their profile in the artistic community.
Apply for an internship or a volunteer position as a docent (tour guide) with the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation. Sometimes to find a patron you need to put yourself in the right position and the Weisman Foundation houses one of the best known private art collections in the United States. Giving yourself a golden opportunity to network with art patrons, scholars and collectors might be the best thing you ever did for your career.