Let's be honest: it's really really hard to make a living as an artist of any kind. The likelihood that any one person is going to "hit the big time," is relatively small. This doesn't mean that creating a sustainable art career is impossible, but that the battle is mostly uphill.
If you're an artist yourself, OR simply an art-lover, there are many things you can do to encourage and support my work and the creation of art in the world at large.
Do you love art? Give artists money.
$5 or $500, it doesn't matter. And you know what, if you're an artist yourself, it's just as important for you to support others' work as to receive support yourself. When you (as an artist or art-lover) give your valuable resources to another artist, you create an environment that supports making art. After all, most artists know that money can:
- pay the internet bill
- cover entry fees for exciting shows and contests
- buy supplies for making more work
- get a babysitter for that art opening
- bring food to the table
And while you can give out of the generosity of your pure and unselfish heart, there's nothing wrong with the straightforward method of buying an artist's work! (PSSST my original work is over here!)
With a little bit of research, it's easy to find local art venues that offer beautiful work for sale (for instance, ArtCurious Gallery and The Local Company, located in Johnson City, Tennesseee). This has the added benefit of supporting independent businesses and independent artists!
Do you love art? Give artists time.
Find a local artist and take them out for coffee or lunch. E-mail us and tell us the things that we're doing well. Give us the real talk if there's stuff we need to shape up on. Maybe you'd really love us to use our skills for a good cause, or you just heard about a really interesting contest or opportunity. Ask us about our process. (One of mine is cyanotype, which you can learn about right over this-a-way.)
Do you love art? Give artists space.
If you have a home where artists can gather, why not host a gathering? If you have a downtown space that sits unused, why not see if artists can make something of it, or keep it occupied and maintained?
Artists can spruce up the bare walls of a retail business. We can sculpt something awesome for your yard, or for your park, or for your pleasure (it's called commission work, and it's great for our creative muscles). That unused room, office, or basement is a place where someone could come and work, or host a show even if it's for a temporary period of time. Planning an art show is a complex process, but it brings people together and allows artists to refine their presentation and get valuable feedback on their work.
Make the space for the art, and the art will happen.
Do you love art? Participate.
We're people too, so come out and participate. Listen to our music. Come to our openings. Learn from us at our workshops. Visit the art fairs and festivals where you can find us! There's a jungle of entertainment options available, and so when you come out in person, it has weight, meaning, and influence.
Art of all kinds can happen only when artists and the people around them create the opportunity for it. We have brains and hearts and feet and hands, all ready to meet you and greet you and help you feed your soul.
Art isn't just for the big cities, and finding beautiful art isn't matter of traveling much further than your hometown! There are a whole host of talented Appalachian artists living here right in my neighborhood, and I know they exist in small communities all over the world.