ART is creative skill. In Nigeria today, many artists are not adequately recognised because their works are “esoteric” as most of them are expressed in abstract forms. Artworks are not readily understandable thus they have no appreciable socio-cultural impact on people. This paper examines art patronage as effective means of communication, information, education, reformation and also as a means of livelihood for Nigerians using Benin City as a case study.
Wangboje defines Art as both a “process as well as a product”. As a process, Art is a means through which we give sensuous and concrete expression to our ideas and feeling about the world around us, as a product, Art include pictures, images, buildings, clothes and so on.
Through Art we are helped to understand the nature of things, realize the possibilities in the world, develop insight or enlarge imagination through the creation and revelation of new subjects. Art also aids learning by clarifying and fixing ideas in the mind through visual reiteration (Adejumo, 1998: 1-16, sieber, 1982: 142).
Art patronage like every kind of business is an interesting one because of its uniqueness such that Art is not an every day product or thing. Though Art is about life (history), but as a business, the buying and selling of Art is not an every day thing and so it appears to be a difficult kind of business because the business is left for those who do not understand Art and for those who don’t have value for Art. Most a times people think Art is just for aesthetics or for the bourgeoisie or for an extremely special occasion.
It is rather sad that Benin City a host community of Art do not have a sustainable local Art market but international one because the people do not patronize Art, to this effect, the Nigerian Observer visited four (4) local art galleries in Benin City which included
·    Chidis Black passionate concept
·    Edo carving centre
·    Semo Art Gallery and
·    Frontier Christi
In an interactive forum with the Nigerian Observer, Mr. Emmanuel Manager of “Chidis Black passionate concept” told us about his views and experience about the Art business. He stated: Someone once told me in the North when I tried marketing some Art; he said, Art are for people who are satisfied and have enough money to spare. The truth is we’ve got to let the people know Art is not just something that makes for immediate gratification; Art is also an investment. Buying Art is just like buying land and real estates because you may buy an Artwork for N200,000 today though depending on the goals and popularity of the Artist, before another five years, that work will be worth millions or billions of naira because Art appreciates, it does not depreciates in value. Art patronage in Benin City is very poor reasons are, firstly, there is mass exodus of quality minds, real creative people in the field and its left for a few people who just learnt it either by apprentiship or form their father’s or from people who just want to make a living out of it and these people are not creative. So most a times when you go around Benin, the kind of Art you find is not professional is actually what we call “Road side art and real collectors know Art and follow Art in its trends. Secondly, the Artist has to be visible, you have to be in a right environment, you have to know how to meet people and know how to market yourself. One important thing I think about the Art business is for anybody to succeed in the Art business especially in Benin, such a person have to marry his/her business with Art promotion because it is a very integral part of our cultural heritage that we are fast loosing and so, an attempt to have good success in the Art business has to definitely correspond with good contribution of Art promotion so that the many things you want to do, not necessarily with an intention to make money out of it but in order to preserve Art. Yes, Art business in a general sense is a very challenging one there’s no doubt about that, just like I said, Art is not an everyday thing likewise the Art business is for those who have guts, patience and integrity, it is for those who know how to make something out of nothing that is what the Art market is really like especially from this part of the country.

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