Supporting Your Local Arts Community (Without Spending a Fortune)
Communities are defined by their art, and local artists play vital roles in their cities, no matter how big or small that city is. Whether they are writers, storytellers, musicians or visual artists, they help their communities thrive, bringing cultural diversity and fresh perspectives that we may otherwise miss out on.
When you hear the phrase “support the arts,” you may automatically assume that means spending money that may not be in your budget. While buying from local artists or going to local plays are great ways to support your city’s art community, there are fortunately some other budget-friendly ways to keep your city’s art community strong.
4 Affordable Ways to Support Your Local Arts Community
Use Social Media for Good
One of their biggest challenges that local artists face is effectively marketing themselves online. Many businesses have entire departments that focus solely on increasing familiarity with their brand and getting their message to the right audience. Few artists have the time and resources to pour into marketing themselves, making it hard to connect with those who may want to purchase their work.
That’s where you come in. Pick a local artist or two whose work resonates with you. Visit their social media page, leave feedback and share their posts or links to their work. As simple as this is, it can extend their reach far beyond their local community.
If you’re planning an event like a wedding or graduation party, consider booking a local photographer and musician or band for your event. Chances are that this will be comparatively affordable, as there won’t be travel and lodging expenses, and you’ll be taking money that you would have spent anyway to put local artists to work.
Watch for Free Festivals and Events
Even small towns often have events like weekly art walks, festivals with local bands and annual art shows. For the organizers of these events, foot traffic is really important. A well-attended event where vendors make enough money to want to participate the next year ensures that the event will continue year after year.
Purchase a Ticket to a Local High School Production
In the last decade, as greater weight is placed on test scores, many high schools are redirecting funds to core subjects like math and reading. While this is a good thing, there’s a big downside: often, these funds come from schools’ arts programs. Dance, theatre and visual arts programs are becoming increasingly uncommon as schools have a difficult time justifying putting money towards programs that don’t directly impact test scores.
For many kids, school provides the only access that they have to cultural experiences like watching or taking part in a play or exploring how art can give them a voice. Even if you don’t have a kid attending your local high school, purchase a ticket to a local theatre production, art exhibit or marching band competition. Tickets are generally very cheap but help fund programs that have experienced budget cuts.
It Takes a Village to Raise a Thriving Arts Community
Local artists rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising and community events that increase their visibility. By participating in local events and helping the next generation of artists a solid start, you can make a small difference in your corner of the world.