There are many in need and many being left out.
Yes, I’m actually doing a second post this week. Why? Because there’s something important that we need to discuss and this is the most efficient way of doing that. I realize that at this particular moment in time there is a lot of information hitting you square in the face. People who would normally be busy doing other work are creating cute cat videos or complaining about their quarantine-mates. Every government office on the planet is weighing in with advice and updating information. In the glut of all that information, I fear we’re losing sight of a group of people who are directly affected by the shutdown, people on whom you depend, and a lot of them need your help.
Of course, I’m talking about artists. Not just visual artists in the traditional sense, though they’re certainly part of the most-affected group. I’m thinking of the entire expanded list of people who work in the various genre of arts, people who frequently are private contractors, those we consider part of the ‘gig economy,’ wholly dependent on that next job coming through the door. When the businesses they work with shut down, their income is the first to disappear and often the last to return, if it returns at all.
The list of people impacted is longer than one might think. Here’s a partial accounting of artistic people we know are currently out of work:
Makeup artist, hairstylists, grips, stagehands, road crew, stage manager, wardrobe stylist, costume designer, light engineer, sound technician, set designer, special effects designers, floral designers, custom instruments, production crew, catering, food service, advertising, marketing, printmakers, social media content developers, graphic artists, illustrators, dancers, choreographers, models, agents, photographers, bartenders, curators, sculptors, copywriters, editors, lyricists, songwriters, composers, translators, music arrangers, DJs, radio personalities, filmmakers, actors, actresses, video directors, producers, camera operators, orchestra conductor, painters, portrait artists, concept artist, architect, model designer, nutritionist, leather workers, tailors, carvers, furniture designers, stonemasons, glass blowers, metal fabricators, jewelry designers, bakers, pastry chefs, sous chefs, writers, editors, proofreaders, independent journalists.
Of course, there are more. I don’t think I could ever satisfactorily create an exhaustive lists. Artists impact our lives in more ways than we easily imagine.
The good news is that a lot of industries that employ gig artists have created funds to help with their expenses. The bad news is that a lot of those funds come with requirements or limitations that leave a large number of people unqualified for assistance. For every artists that is getting some assistance there are at least three others (more in some genres) who have nothing at all. The overused term “starving artists” is more real than it has ever been.
How can you help? First off, let’s be clear that if you’re at home, not working, and not getting paid, you should take care of yourself and your family first. No one is asking you to forego your own needs. For those who are still working, however, and have some discretionary income, consider all the artists in your life and look at the ways you can help. Some offer gift cards, providing the artists revenue now in exchange for services later. Some have items available for purchase, from jewelry to music to clothing to prints. Venmo, PayPal, and other financial services apps have ways for you to send money directly to people you know are affected. If you’re not sure how to help, just ask.
Then, spread the word. A great number of people don’t stop to think about how many hundreds of thousands of artistic people are adversely affected by the global lockdowns. To that end, we’ve created a series of images to remind people how dependent we all are on artists. I’m turning off our normal copy protection for this post so that you can download any of the images to your device and share them. Here they are:
What can you do to help me, personally? Buying prints is probably the easiest way. Click the link in the menu to see what prints are available. If you want to support our writing, go over to the Old Man Talking page and click on “donate.” Either method helps us pay bills and buy food. Should we have excess, be sure we will use that to help others.
A lot of people are adversely affected by current shutdowns and artists are taking a huge hit. Thank you for supporting those close to you and thank you for sharing our message.