This is a two-parter, so read Part 1 first if you want this to make sense.
BUT WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT? Yes, what can you do? Call me an idealist, but I’ll tell you a few things:
1- Stop telling yourself that it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with you. YOU are a member of the audience, everyday, everywhere you go. And the way you value creativity in your own life is reflected in the world around you. Empower yourself. YOU can take a small supportive action in the arts, be it to an individual, or an organization, and make a HUGE difference.
2- Ask yourself what YOU would like to see more of? What would make you feel better about waking up in the morning? What would enhance your day? Go find it. And throw some money at it while you’re looking at it. THEY NEED IT in order to keep making more for you.
3- How about making donations to someone’s kickstarter program this year instead of a political campaign?
4- You know that annoying friend of yours who’s always asking you to see their band? How about buying their album off their website… or better yet, buying two, and giving one to a friend?
5- How about sponsoring a talk for artists at your local library and bringing in an expert for them on new ways to get their work seen?
6- How about connecting that person you know in publishing with that talented writer you know, TODAY, instead of continuing to put it off?
7- How about making your next holiday gift-giving season about buying beautiful pottery from a local tradesman instead of junk from The Sharper Image?
8- How about giving your painter friend a certificate for a hand massage, with a lovely note that says you believe in their talent?
9- How about, just asking yourself the question, what can I do to benefit the arts this year and help keep them alive?
10- How about just bringing a friend with you to the next cultural even you attend?
11-And, if you are a decision maker in a creative field, how about taking a chance on the underdog?
Recently a creative colleague of mine said “Fuck making money, just make art.” But this is the problem: it costs me money to MAKE art. And time. It's like being a mother: it's a full time job with no paycheck.
And the bigger problem is this: when all art MUST PAY in order to be seen, while the artists themselves are indeed starving, then the BUSINESS will have overtaken art. The YANG will have strangled the YIN. And what used to be “art” will become commercial, watered-down, dumbed-down, simmered-down, and put down.
The tiny brilliant ideas that, back in the times of the roaring 20s Paris, might have lived no matter if the artist was only eating baguettes or not, won’t stand a chance in this world. The delicate rose that is itself pure art, will have no water and sunshine for it to grow. And if pure, true, honest, vulnerable ART cannot earn a living, or at least survive in this world, they won’t stand a chance against BUSINESS.
And the audience, not the creators, will be the ones who have stood by and let the brutal murder happen.
My challenge to you is not to change the world. It is simply to NOT be complacent about art. Be an ART EXPEDITOR, not an ART INHIBITOR. Just try it, and see how it makes you feel. The rewards will not only benefit the artistes, but you will feel it deep within yourself as well…