As of early July 2021, 158 million Americans, or nearly 50 percent of the population, were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In the US and other countries that were able to quickly roll out the vaccines, economies are reopening and people are going back to work, restaurants, museums and bars.
Yet the pandemic has taken its toll, and few demographics have been hit harder than artists, many of whom were forced to put their careers on pause until the pandemic finally ended.
Many of us want a quick return to the vibrant life of culture and art that made life worth living — something that we understand more consciously than ever before after a year-and-a-half-long drought of in-person experiences.
As The Houston Chronicle wrote in a recent editorial: “The arts are essential to our lives, more so now than ever before. But at a time when there is a desperate need for creative expression, the livelihood of artists has never been more tenuous.”
But getting back the arts means supporting them with our time and money. Here are a few suggestions on how you can support artists in your community.
Donate To The Arts
Many Americans have been financially strapped through the pandemic, awaiting a return to work and stability.
So it’s understandable if you might be hesitant to donate money. But if you have the extra cash and feel like using it to make the world a better place, then donating to arts organizations is a great start.
There are GoFundMe accounts specifically aimed at helping these organizations, or community-specific organizations like The Seattle Artist’s Relief Fund, which used the crowdfunding platform to raise $144,000 in a single week to support struggling artists in the Seattle area.
Look around for something like this in your community. It’s likely that someone has already created a channel for donating to help local artists. And if not, maybe you can start one yourself!
Take an online art class
If you don’t feel like just giving money away, you could take an art class from a local artist. Many visual artists have moved their in-person art classes online, just as many musicians and bands have used livestreaming on social media to try and make money during the stay-at-home quarantines of the pandemic.
By taking a class, you can learn a new skill or artform that will enhance your daily life and wellbeing, while simultaneously helping an artist that enhances the culture of your community.
Visit Your Local Art Museum or Gallery
Museums also had a tough time during the pandemic. Most of them were closed for a year or more, losing a crucial source of funding in the process.
In the US, many museums have now reopened their doors to the public, and the best collections of art in the world are once again available to us.
For Thomas Kane, an art aficionado based in Chicago, visiting your local museum — and making sure to pay the entrance fee, even at museums where it’s optional — is one of the best ways to re-engage with your city’s artistic community.
“Who doesn’t want to go to the Art Institute of Chicago? It’s one of the greatest art museums in the world, and we couldn’t get inside for a year,” Chicago’s Thomas Kane said. “I recommend everyone find that place in their own city and support it however possible.”
Barring these examples, one of the best ways to make the world a better place for artists is to simply find one you like and buy their art or music or merchandise.
Even if it’s just a few dollars, all of us making a small donation to artists can still improve the lives of artists — and all the rest of us.