The effects of COVID-19 seem to have no end. Being a freelancer, creative or small business owner during this time can be particularly challenging as the effects of the pandemic are two-fold catastrophic to the economy as they are our health system. Our thoughts are with everyone affected, especially the artists who provide light and solace in such a bleak time often without security to do so. In light of this, we reached out to our creative community to discuss what we can be doing if in the position to help.
My recent show really felt the impact of the virus as a result of people not leaving the house. Seeing how it’s so expensive to put on a show and support yourself for the months of creation, when a show doesn’t do well it really puts a hold on productivity and livelihood.
In these times I think there are a number of ways to support the arts and also ways for artists to support themselves. I was thinking of the cigar box paintings that Australian artists were making during and post WW2 as the economy was so strained that they couldn’t afford materials. These pieces are now an indication of times that once were; times I thought we would never see and as a result pieces of history. What will we do as artists to move through these times, how can we play our part, what does the community need from us and what will be our cigar box?
You can buy artworks, you can commission paintings which gives artists some money to support themselves during creation, you can donate materials, be active on Instagram and other platforms. For me, I would love to be creating works that give something back to people in these strong times. Seeing the musicians on the balconies of apartments in Italy playing their instruments so others don’t feel so alone is so wonderful. This is a wonderful time to reflect on how we exist in the world, what’s important to us and where we put our energy, emotions and money. I hope everyone has a chance to feel a little deeper into who they are outside of the material world and work out who they really can be and how that helps themselves and the community at large
Founder, Jerico Contemporary
If you have the means, buy local and directly from small creatives businesses. Purchase vouchers or gift cards to use at a later date. Read more, and buy artist books from local art galleries and independent book shops. Share the love and repost the Instagram pages of your favourite musicians, artists and writers. Engage with galleries and museums online as you would in person. Offer a (small) free service that you are an expert in. Buy merchandise from lesser-known musicians and bands who may rely on such sales for income. Subscribe to newsletters and utilise the free content creative industries already give you. Check in with your friends and make sure they know you are thinking of them
Gena Rose Bruce
Listen to music (legally) as much as you can, for both yourself and the artist. Invest in some merch or even just reach out to your favourite artist and let them know you are listening still. You can also donate to charities such as Support Act - they've set up a COVID-19 Emergency Appeal where people can donate if they're in a position to at supportact.org.au/donate-now. I am staying inspired by using this time to reflect and write in my journal, which then usually leads to songwriting. I am reading more novels and staying offline when I can.
Supporting artists is vital right now. Think about how they have supported you in every moment of your life, scored a magical moment, been there for you when only music can be, a picture on your wall that comforted you and made your first room out of home feel like your own, and a million other things. Art is always there for you and it is important we take care of the humans that create it. If you can, obviously purchase whatever it is your favourite musician/artist is selling but if you can’t, maybe think about writing to them, telling them a little something about what they create means or has meant to you. We are all in this together and it’s important we continue to check in and nurture each other. As much as most governments don’t acknowledge it, art is the backbone of pretty much every community and we must take care of it, so it can take care of us.