Supporting Your Local Artist – a Checklist

Happy 2017! One of my “goals” (not resolutions) this new year is to support the artistic and business endeavors of my friends/family as best I can. It is not always easy when one is on a budget, but as a person who has seen first-hand how hard it is to promote and sell yourself, I want to try harder to lend my support to my fellow creators.

Now is the BEST time to venture out of your comfort zone and really get to know the people around you who are creating and making things happen. Shopping local has wonderful implications for not only the person doing the creating, but the place in which they live and those they are involved with. We live and die by word of mouth. The more one can network and get their stuff out there and seen/heard, the more likely it is they can actually one day make a living doing what they love to do. Being part of an artistic community is so rewarding. Rubbing shoulders with other creative  individuals can really help your wellbeing, and you might just brush up on your own skills!

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Living in the college town I live in, there is no shortage of artists. The place is teeming with musicians, fashion designers, photographers, writers, dancers, singers, tattoo artists, painters, and every other manner of crafty person you can think of. I’m lucky to know some really amazing, talented folks. The only downside I sometimes see is how one-sided promotion can be.  I try my best not to do this, but even I am guilty of it from time to time. We get so caught up in our own endeavors that it’s easy to forget that networking is a two way street. I want to do better this year!

In that spirit, here is my guideline for supporting fellow artists in the New Year:

  • Attend as many shows, benefits and performances as I can. It will not always be possible to go to them all, and that’s okay. In the instance that I can’t go, take the time to thank the artist for the invite and explain that I can’t make it. This common courtesy will at least let them know they’re seen.
  • Read books by local authors. Seek out authors from the area.  Give them feedback. When reading works by authors I know personally: Share their promotions. Offer them support, let them know that I’m proud of their achievements. Review their work on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. 
  • Continue to promote my own work being carried by a local bookshop. Encourage people to buy it there. This helps promote their business as well as mine. 
  • Avoid any/all kinds of snobbery towards different mediums. Some will go the traditional route with an agent/publisher, some will self publish, some will publish all of their stuff on a blog. Any and all methods of art are valid. Snob-free zone. 
  • The same goes for music, art, etc. However they want to put it out there.
  • Don’t forget about open mic nights, poetry readings, etc. There are so many untapped artists out there just waiting to be discovered. 
  • Don’t just go to shows for your musician friends. If you can, buy a cd or a t-shirt. Invite your friends to go. Share their stuff on Spotify, Youtube, etc. 
  • When you can afford to, buy a painting. A piece of clothing. A gift basket. A box of handmade soap. Visit your friend’s Etsy shops and Ebay stores and check out their goods.
  • Enter giveaways – even if you don’t win, other people will see that you entered and it will help promote your friend. 
  • “Like” your friend’s fan pages, business pages, etc on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever medium they choose. It should be a two way street – why should they follow you if you don’t follow them? That being said – you are not obligated to endlessly support artists who do not support in kind.
  • Get involved with fundraisers, art fairs, auctions, group efforts. Not only will it put you out there, but it will be fun!
  • If you “know a guy” who might be a good fit for an opportunity, give them a shout! Connect people who can help each other. 
  • Collaborate! Seek out fellow artists to work with. Keep doing drum circles and jam sessions at your house. Write things with people. Join forces. Art is powerful, especially in numbers.
  • Be Encouraging! Always. Be interested in what people are painting, writing, tinkering with. Never make someone feel that their passion is boring or irrelevant. 
  • Sew. Draw. Build. Write. Knit. Cook. Snap photos. CREATE. Even if it’s “bad”, dabble in every medium that gives you joy.
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I used to have this t-shirt. So classy.

Now go forth and consume (and make!) some art!
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