I don’t tend to get up on a soapbox but sometimes I just feel like people aren’t getting the information they need. So, prepare yourself – here it comes!
Supporting the arts means BUYING art.
Seems like a simple concept! Supporting local businesses means shopping there. Supporting local eateries? You go to dinner there. Want to continue having local theater and musical venues? Buy tickets and attend a performance. Same goes for art!
Yes, it’s great to have big crowds at openings, art fairs and shows. But just attending these with your friends as a social activity doesn’t help the artists! No, you don’t have to buy something at every event you attend but if you want to continue attending and enjoying these things you do need to invest in them occasionally! It’s going to be hard to brag about what great art events you have in your community when they disappear.
Let me guess? You can’t “afford” original art. Phooey! I’ve seen lovely works of art for less than $50. Yes, they might be small pieces for your wall, or from an artist you don’t “know” yet. But if they make you happy, buy them! Art is to be enjoyed and cherished, regardless of the source. There are so many types of art that you can buy – pottery, glass, sculpture, paintings, fiber art, jewelry, photography, even prints and notecards – that don’t require a second mortgage on your home. Want a larger, more expensive piece? Save for it, just as you would for any other major purchase! This puts into perspective:
I also love this quote from a fellow artist, who is the owner of a local gallery:
“Art is for all classes, not just the wealthy. In order for an artist to survive and continue to create, sales are needed to pay for studio space, supplies and marketing that is necessary to even think about moving beyond local and regional following. The great thing about buying works from an emerging artist is that you have invested in their future as well as owning a work at a more affordable price point. The value of art is developed by those who begin buying artists work early in their career.” – Jerry Points
I believe there are also myths about artists, stereotypes, that perhaps keep people from buying art. Like the concept that creating art isn’t a “real” job. Believe me, it is. It’s a small business, usually with a single owner doing all the work – from cleaning up spilled paint to delivering art to customers, galleries and exhibit venues, filling out applications for shows or grants, doing promotions and marketing, setting up tents/displays outdoors (no matter how hot, cold, rainy or windy it might be), keeping up with the latest trends and technology, updating websites and knowing where our inventory is located, volunteering and participating in local art groups, to keeping up with bookkeeping duties and filing our taxes and, somehow, among all the “business” then finding the time and mindset to create their art. Yes, we do it because we love it and sometimes we even doing it “playfully” but it IS work! I love this pie chart, although it’s labeled specifically for photographers, it applies to all artists.
SO, I’m sure you know by now what the “Action Required!” is that I’m asking.
Buy some art!
Buy some art during a gallery walk, at a local gallery, a display at the local coffee shop, at a one-day-only pop-up gallery, from the website or Etsy shop of your favorite artist, from you neighbor that works in clay or the guy down the road that builds metal sculptures from used parts. It doesn’t matter how or where but it DOES matter that you do your part to keep the artists in your community thriving.
When you do make that art purchase, remember that the most important criteria is to buy art that brings you joy! Will it make your day better each time you see it? Art doesn’t have to match your couch, nor does it have to please your Great Aunt Margaret’s taste! Surround yourself with art that you love. You’ll know it when you see it, and when you do see it – buy it! Get lost in it. Be inspired by it! Place it where you can enjoy it each and every day. Spread the joy around, send artist-made cards to your friends. Give the gift of art, or of art lessons (many artists teach too!).
Art does nourish your soul. Indulge and delight in it!
Jumping off the soap box,