art, artists, artistry… what’s the value?

I’ve come to notice a growing plague in our society – specifically North America, as that’s my playground. I have a feeling Europe may not be suffering as much…

This plague is the idea that the people who create art – in all its forms – should do so purely for the joy of it. That they shouldn’t expect to be paid a living wage, or more! That they shouldn’t expect to actually make a living. That they shouldn’t expect to be valued for their skill and talent… never mind creativity, dedication, sacrifice and passion.

I would like this plague to be stopped.

I am not an artist. Well, not technically, not to my mind. But I know and work with a LOT of artists. I have watched them give and give and give… and be tongue-lashed at the mere suggestion that they be paid for their work.

As a community we are guilty. We ask our artists to donate their time, their product, their energy, their livelihood ALL THE TIME. Hey, we’re having an event, maybe so-and-so will play for free! Hey, we’re doing a fundraiser for such-and-such, maybe X artist will give us one of their awesome pieces! Hey, we need a poster for a show, maybe my artist friend can whip one up for me.

You get the picture.

I am guilty. I have worked for businesses that have asked for the freebies. I have owned a business that hoped for low-cost creativity. I have organized fundraisers that begged for prizes and entertainment and mc’s and auction items.

Right here and now, that changes.

As a board member of our local Arts Council, and a co-producer of a local arts festival, and wife to a creative human, it has become plainly evident that this approach to “the arts” cannot continue. IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.

We require the arts for our quality of life to have ANY meaning whatsoever.

Therefore, we need to start VALUING the arts so our quality of life continues to increase and offer us the joy we all ultimately seek.

Please stop and think before you ask someone to do something creative for nothing.

It doesn’t always have to be a cash transaction. Artists (which include painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians, writers, composers, designers, actors, poets… ) have expenses that need covering. Maybe you’ve got something they need besides cash. The point is… it’s a trade for VALUE.

VALUE the arts & artists in your community. It’s good for you. Like water.