Most of us know at least one brilliant artist. A painter, sculptor, writer, actor or musician. Someone who perhaps has sacrificed a steady paycheck for the satisfaction of creating within their own vision, folks who are true contributors to our culture. Art influences society by transforming opinions, instilling values and rendering experiences across space and time. Research has shown art affects our primary sense of self. The arts are often considered to be the repository of a society’s collective memory.
COVID-19 has brought a standstill to the gig economy and the way most artists get paid for their creativity. Think about it, all the concerts, art festivals, museum exhibits, and theater performances have been canceled or indefinitely postponed. The freelance economy of artists has been blown to smithereens and now great suffering will likely begin.
Unless we mobilize and do something about this burgeoning catastrophe, our most brilliant archivers of culture will endure greatly, and most likely take longer to recover as a result. The other day a possible solution emerged as I was reading a post from a talented colleague of mine. My artist friend is a magnificent filmmaker, actor, and writer. She embodies creativity in a way that is infectious. And, she has stayed true to her art. In parallel, she is raising an extraordinary teenager as a single mom. Her post was a humble call for help, and I responded organically with a focus on diplomacy.
I reached out and asked her if I could pre-pay her for some writing projects. Then I put a few bags of groceries together with duplicates of nonperishable essentials that both my husband and I had purchased without checking in with each other. I sanitized everything, packed up my car which had not left the driveway in weeks, cajoled my teenage daughter into taking a ride with me, and together we delivered the packages to my colleague’s home.
Overwhelmed with gratitude, my colleague and I talked about art and parental survival standing across from each other with a myriad of dandelions in between. It felt incredible to reach out and offer assistance in a way that made sense to me. On our ride back home, my daughter and I discussed how cool it would be if every family reached out to one artist, checking in with them and making sure they have the support they need. This was the birth of the Help One Artist campaign.
So with this call to action, I am proposing that those of us that have the means, and some extra resources on hand, reach out to your favorite artist. The one who you know is subject to a gig economy. The one who you could purchase some art from, pre-pay for a performance or song, contribute to materials fees or just stock their pantry with some much-needed items.
Together, let’s bolster our artists and preserve and protect our culture at the same time.
With a love of all that is art,
NOTE: I am looking for stories on how you and your loved ones are embracing the HELP ONE ARTIST campaign. I will collect these stories and share them through my blog and hopefully through additional media sources, especially media sources that are local to the communities of where the story originates. This could turn into something extraordinary, become part of this movement and let’s kick COVID butt together! Please comment below or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe and healthy out there!