Sometimes it seems like many forms of creativity are undervalued. Unless one happens to be exceptionally talented (and connected), it can be very tough to make a secure living on the proceeds of one's creative work, especially for those arts that fall outside of mainstream media (and, let's face it, it's hard to make it in those industries, too). So, quite often, many people, like myself, turn away from following their creative spirit in order to pursue lifestyles with a more stable income. (I'm quite attached to having a regular paycheque; I admit it.) IMHO, this isn't healthy for us as a whole; art, literature, music, dance... these are the stuff of our collective spirit and should be cultivated, allowed to blossom. To this end, I try, when I can, to support the creative arts. I'm nowhere near wealthy enough to fund an endowment, or purchase major pieces of art, but I can put a dollar or two in the hat of a busker, or purchase a piece of jewellery or craft-work (as a present for another) from a local merchant, put a tip in the jar for LJ crowdfunded projects, and (relevant to this post) serve as an LJ patron for a creative spirit. I may not be able to live my dream, but at least I can help a few live theirs.
However, when supporting the creative arts, the relationship between artists and supporters is often just mercantile in nature. You pay the busker to listen to his music, the crafts-person for her wares, and the LJ oracle for her reading and the transaction ends with a nod or a thanks. Not so between artist and patron. Here, a friendly, ongoing, mutually supportive relationship is fostered over time. I not only help to keep the ramen off her table, but I also provide ysabetwordsmith with constructive feedback for her work. I've even begun to help in promoting it. In return, not only does she produce poetry that I enjoy, but explores topics of mutual interest through both conversation and her work. She even advocates awareness of a cause quite important to me. (I also admit I really like the way she shows her appreciation to her supporters, such as her donor perk posts or the anthologies of Poetry Fishbowl generated poems she's given to her major supporters.)
But more than this, by interacting with her audience, encouraging input and feedback as she does, ysabetwordsmith draws us into the creative process. We are not mere observers, regarding a finished product we had no hand in, but active participants, providing ideas for her poetry through prompts and conversation. (I imagine that I'm far from the only participant in her Poetry Fishbowl events who takes great delight in seeing what poetry blooms from the seeds we provide.) Furthermore, this involvement inspires me to exercise my own poetic ability, on occasion, which she encourages through feedback. Beyond anything else, perhaps, this is the greatest benefit I derive from being a patron; in a lifestyle largely devoid of opportunity to do so, I get to touch the magic, too.
Edit: laffingkat raised the excellent point that I neglected to invite others to express their own reasons for why they enjoy being patrons. In my defense, just look a the time stamp for when this post was originally written. XD So does anyone share the same kind of thoughts on patronage as I? Does anyone have any differing ideas? I'm also curious as to how many people in this crowdfunding scene are mostly patrons.