Thanks James Alefantis, collector and restaurateur extraordinaire, for sending me this link to a piece entitled: “Why Artists need More Than Creativity to Survive”.
This research identifies the critical contribution that artists make to our society and economic the difficulty of being an artist.
Throughout our history, artists in the U.S. have utilized their skills as a vehicle to illuminate the human condition, contribute to the vitality of their communities and to the broader aesthetic landscape, as well as to promote social change and democratic dialogue. Artists have also helped us interpret our past, define the present, and imagine the future. In spite of these significant contributions, there’s been an inadequate set of support structures to help artists, especially younger, more marginal or controversial ones, to realize their best work. Many artists have struggled and continue to struggle to make ends meet. They often lack adequate resources for health care coverage, housing, and for space to make their work. Still, public as well as private funding for artists has been an uneven, often limited source of support even in the best of times economically.
The research then suggests ways to improve the situation.
…improving support structures for artists in the U.S. will not be accomplished simply by restoring budget cuts, though we will certainly need to rebuild these kinds of direct financial support going forward. Making a real difference in the creative life of artists will entail developing a new understanding and appreciation for who artists are and what they do, as well as financial resources from a variety of stakeholders. Achieving these changes involves a long-term commitment from artists themselves, as well as arts administrators, funders, governments at various levels, community developers and real estate moguls, not to mention the business and civic sectors (emphasis added).
It’s simply not enough to rely on government grants. Supporting a creative community requires participation by many stakeholders, including art collectors! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, though buying paintings is an important way collectors can support artists, there are many other ways that collectors can participate in developing a thriving art community. And it doesn’t take lots of dough to move beyond a passive role, just a little creative thinking.