Updated: Sep 19, 2021
In last week’s blog post, we covered the importance of art. (If you haven’t read that one, you can check it out here.) So it has to go without saying that supporting artists and the arts is crucial, as well! But how do we go about supporting the arts? Lucky for you, I’ve compiled an easily accessible list of simple things you can do to support artists and the arts in your community. Let’s dive in!
Directly Support their Work
I think this is a no-brainer; supporting an artist’s work directly is the most straight-forward and (probably) impactful way to support an artist. If there’s an artist whose work you admire, purchasing a piece or print directly from them will help them out immensely. And you’ll have a piece of art that means something to you. Also, a lot of the time, original art costs the same as (or less than) stuff you can find on the shelf.
I know that the big box stores of the world now carry cute, trendy prints for cheap, but it helps artists more to buy directly from them. This could be a commission or a piece that you spotted in their shop that spoke to you. No matter what you buy from their shop, you’ll be directly supporting their work and business by passing over store-bought art. And - huge bonus - you’ll most likely be the only person in the world with that piece of art hanging on your wall!
I also have several AMAZING art friends who have online shops and communities on Patreon! Check these wonderful people out:
Courtney Palladino | https://www.etsy.com/shop/courtneypalladinoart
Maybee Designs | https://www.patreon.com/maybeedesigns
Kinley Bowman | https://www.etsy.com/shop/kinleybowmanart/
Kim Voitic | https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KimVoiticArt
Hannah McMillin | https://www.etsy.com/shop/hmembellishmentsco/
*Now, as a disclaimer, I understand not everyone can afford original art. This is not to shame you. Art is for everyone and prints make that possible, which I understand and support. But I also think that saving up for locally-made work is much more meaningful and supportive of the arts as a whole than commercial art. Moreover, art made specifically for you will never go out of style. You’re free to disagree - I’m just here to share my thoughts.
Spread the Word
If you can’t afford to purchase a piece directly from your favorite artist, simply telling others about an artist’s work is incredibly helpful! I actually do this a lot. If there’s an artist I think someone will appreciate, I’ll send the artist’s information their way. And this goes for all types of artists, not just those in the visual arts field.
One of the best ways to do this is to send them directly to an artist’s website or shop. Social media is great and all, but providing their direct contact information is even better. They’ll be able to sign up for newsletters or purchase work directly from that artist. Plus, artists often have their social media linked on their website. So the next time you have a friend looking for art, be sure to share your favorite artist with them. It’s an easy and effective way to support all of us.
Attend Events (once it’s safe)
Another great way to support the arts is to attend in-person or virtual events. That could be going to a gallery opening or attending a local play or heading out to listen to a local band. No matter what you like to do, showing up in person (or online these days) speaks volumes to artists. It shows us that you care enough to spend time supporting our work.
These events are also a lot of fun! I love going to galleries and plays, and I look forward to being able to get more involved once we get into the Post Covid Era. But until then, do a quick google search of what’s going on in your community. A lot of things have moved to an online format. Translation: you can support the arts from your home while wearing pajamas. Sounds pretty fantastic to me!
Another great way to support the arts is to donate to your local artistic organizations. For whatever reason, society tends to put the arts on the back burner in terms of financial support. And that obviously leaves many artists hurting, especially in times of crisis. If you’re in a position where you can donate, supporting artists this way can be really powerful.
In honor of Black History Month and Black Lives Matter, I’m highlighting the Harlem Arts Alliance. This organization amplifies the unique voices of its artist members and helps bridge the gaps between them and major art institutions. You can donate and learn more about their mission here.
Advocate for Them
Voting impacts more than just who is currently in office; it also impacts where funding is allocated during someone’s term. So do your research and vote for local representatives that support the arts! By electing representatives who will fight for arts to remain an important part of student education and a central part of the local community, we’re working towards a more holistic and accepting community.
And you don’t have to wait for voting season to roll around to make your voice heard! Be proactive by reaching out to your local representatives and let them know your stance on the arts and art education. You can write an email or call their office. Either way, letting your local representatives know why the arts matter to your community is great way to support current and future artists. For a list of state representatives, click here.
And that's it for me today! Supporting artists and the arts is vital to a functioning society. We need people from all walks of life, and that most certainly includes artists.
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Thanks for reading and happy creating!