It's October 2020 and life this year has been hard. There is no other way to put it. As we make our way through this year many things have begun an attempt at returning back to semi-normal. One thing that hasn't is the arts.
As regular business opens back up the creative economy is still struggling to find ways to return safely. Our industry relies on gatherings of people while participating in high risk activities (have you seen the spit that happened in Hamilton?!).
So with no real return in sight how do we save these amazing things we enjoy so much? How do we keep the arts alive?
1. Enjoy in the arts
Is there a local musician that played at your favorite coffee shop? Do you go see the ballet annually? Was your kid taking drama classes before the shut down? When was the last time you purchased from a local artist? These artists are all still out there trying to find ways to keep the arts alive and there is no reason you can't still enjoy in the arts from home.
So, purchase a ticket to the next virtual performance. Gift your nephew online dance lessons. Purchase from a local artisan's online shop! There are lots of ways we can support the arts until we are able to return to in person events & activities. The scariest part is if we don't support the arts now there might not be much left when we return.
If attending a virtual performance or taking classes isn't for you, consider donating to a local arts organization. Even small amounts can help keep programs going. If you go out to purchase a coffee a few times a week consider brewing a few pots at home and send that money over to your favorite organization. Your donation can help provide scholarships for arts students and paychecks for arts workers.
When donating don't forget about corporate matching programs if you have access to one. Don't miss the chance to double up on a gift whenever possible. You can help ensure that the big corporations that are thriving in these times are helping others stay afloat.
Do you know any fantastic non-profit charitable giving programs? Drop them in the comments below!
3. Follow, engage & help spread the word
This one is simple & FREE. Artists and organizations thrive when we can connect with our communities. Right now (more than ever) it is a struggle to make those connections. Our emails are backed up, our social feeds are cluttered, everything is urgent, and connecting in person is on hold.
Take some time today to find an artist (or two... or five!) to follow on Facebook. Connect with your favorite arts organization on Instagram (or wherever it is online that you like to spend your time). Once you've made that connection don't let it disappear. Follow what their doing, comment on their posts and share the beautiful things they are trying to share with the world.
Are you missing seeing posts from pages on Facebook?
4. Help with fundraising efforts
Maybe donating financially isn't possible for you right now. Do you have a little free time to spare? Reach out to your local arts org and ask how you can help with fundraising efforts. We are entering gala season and it is all basically canceled this year. Many are trying to make the switch to online fundraising events. Non-profits and arts orgs are looking for any way to effectively raise funds and helping hands are never turned away.
Are you looking for a fun evening escape? You can have a blast while supporting the arts by attending Danylyon Drama's Great Escape Rip-Roaring Virtual FUNdraiser on Saturday, November 7th at 7PM PST. This evening has been planned by creatives (trust me, we know how to throw a party!) and having a behind the scenes look at the nights festivities I can guarantee it is going to blow you away! I'm thrilled to be performing a role along with my teaching artist co-workers. Read all about it and purchase tickets here!
5. Support arts relief legislation
Throughout this year I have been grateful for the funding that has helped some arts organizations scrape by, but as the days drag on that funding is disappearing and it's hard (if not impossible) for individual artists to gain access to those funds.
Arts workers were the first to lose their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic and we will be the last to be able to fully return to work. You can help by supporting legislation and relief efforts that support arts workers. Write, call and vote to make your voices heard!
You truly can make a difference in your community by being a supportive arts patron and advocate. If you want to enjoy in concerts, ballets, opera's, artisan products, arts education and more when we return to daily life, please consider what you can do to help us keep the arts alive today!
What steps have you taken to help save the arts? What more can we do to support the arts in hard times? Share in the comments, and until next time - Keep being amazing artsy people!