WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS
Local artists are vital to any community, however small it may be. Artists bring cultural diversity and fresh points of view to the table. They provide affordable entertainment at events, add value by attracting people to gathering spots, and give the community a reason to get together and enjoy the arts.
Artists play a vital role in small town America. Whether they are visual artists, musicians, or writers, they help small towns thrive. They expose culture and bring new ideas to people who would perhaps never know it without their influence in the community.
While big city artists have many opportunities. artists and musicians in smaller communities and rural areas face a different challenge. They have fewer opportunities for gigs and fewer people available to hear about their music or art.
This concerns me! As a resident of a rural county, this is a very real dilemma. If you love the arts, you may wonder how you can support the local arts. However, when you hear the phrase “support the arts,” you may think it’s out of your budget.
I would argue that it’s very inexpensive to support local artists. In fact, I would even argue that we cannot afford NOT to support the arts in our local areas! Without community support, we are in danger of losing the arts in rural communities.
That said, here are 8 affordable ways you can support local artists and musicians in your community.
1 – SOCIAL MEDIA SHARES FROM THE ARTIST’S SOCIAL MEDIA
Visit their Facebook page, watch a video or two, comment some constructive feedback or a compliment and share! This gives them a reach beyond their local community to your friends and family in other areas.
If you have a favorite musician or poet, share the information on your own social media.
Here’s the appropriate way to do this: Review the artist and tell the world why you love his music. Share a link back to one of his own videos to help drive new visitors who can discover his music for themselves.
This will help your local band earn exposure to new fans and followers. It’s great for their SEO and social marketing.
3 – ATTEND FREE EVENTS AND FESTIVALS
Even a small town has some type of festival or event on occasion. Attend one of these events, listen to the music provided by local area bands, purchase a piece of jewelry or trinket from a local artisan, or just walk around the venue and enjoy being out in your community.
Organizers of these kinds of events love to see the foot traffic. A well-attended event, where the vendors make enough money to come back every year, will keep this event going from year to year. Your participation is vital.
4 – SHOP LOCAL WHEN PLANNING AN EVENT
If you’re planning an upcoming event, shop local! While it’s great if you buy your party supplies from a local source and your food from an organic farm, think beyond that.
Book a local band or musician for your entertainment. The chances are great that you will get a better price as they won’t have travel and lodging expenses. Plus, you will be putting local people from your own community to work!
5 – PURCHASE A TICKET TO A HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCTION
Local high schools across America are losing funding for the arts. When budgets get tight, school officials often make the first cuts to music, drama, and art programs. It’s sad for our kids as this may be the only access some of them have to cultural experiences.
Therefore, purchase a ticket to a local high school musical theater production, marching band competition, or school art exhibit. They are very low-cost and the funds earned help keep these programs in place.
6 – COMMISSION AN ART PIECE
If you’re renovating, consider commissioning an art piece for your home. For example, if you are renovating a family room, hire a local woodworker to create a live edge mantel for your fireplace. You will have a unique, one-of-a-kind, locally crafted mantel.
This creates a win-win situation. The artisan gets work and makes a living. You have a hand-crafted custom art piece that you will enjoy for many years.
The artists that set up across America with their guitars, easels, and tip jars are just trying to support themselves. While they aspire to become well-known and book their calendars, they need to make ends meet.
Street artists are not “beggars.” In fact, if you speak with one, you will likely find that they do gigs with their band once a week, work a job, and play on the street. Playing on the street lets them showcase their talents as well as receive a little extra cash.
So throw a dollar or few in the tip jar if you like the artist’s style. This shows your support in a small but frugal way.
8 – VOLUNTEER WITH YOUR LOCAL ARTS COUNCIL
Even in the most rural communities, there are county arts councils. Volunteer a couple of hours of your time each month. The jobs are easy, and you get to meet new people.
For example, it the local arts council is holding an exhibit featuring a local sculptor, they may need you to pass out brochures at the door, make sure people register as they enter, or offer refreshments.
These councils are non-profit and rely heavily on volunteers. They are passionate about the arts and do their jobs for the love of it, not the money.
Finally, remember that it need not cost a ton of money to support local arts endeavors. A little time or thoughtfulness is free…and it goes a long way. If you can afford to commission an artist, hire a musician for a party, or purchase tickets, that’s even better!
Keeping the arts alive in small towns and rural communities is important.
In the immortal words of playwright George Bernard Shaw, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
AUTHOR BIO: Deborah Tayloe is a professional writer who also enjoys music and the arts. When she’s not making hand-crafted furniture or playing her violin, you’ll find her writing blog posts.