4 Ways to Support Art Without Buying It

Supporting art without buying it I know you! You love art, or at least like it in a more-than-friends way. You enjoy evocative, beautiful, or powerful images, shapes, and sounds. You like to add bursts of personality to a room, an office, or a shelf. But you only have so much room (and budget), so supporting art has to be pretty limited, right?

Of course you're a clever reader, so you know I'm going to answer "no." Here are four ways to support your favorite artists, without filling your shelves or emptying your wallet.

Talk about art you love

I was lucky enough to stumble across Lauren Ashbury through an online forum for makers, and I fell in love with her inspiring, magical artwork. Her original paintings have a serenity and dream-like quality that I lose myself in.

Original watercolor artwork by Lauren Ashbury

Lauren is also a brilliant, beautiful person with a sensitive eye and deep talent. I could only buy one of her original pieces, but I've:

  • Instagrammed it
  • talked about her
  • suggested her Daily Inspiration Cards to my tarot-loving friends
  • And now her website has backlinks from my website, which can give her site a little boost in Google and other search engines.

See what I did there? Talk about your favorite artists and why you love them. If you love them, tell the world!

Tell us the story of your art

It seems to me that people don't buy "art" so much as they buy the feeling that art gives them. Maybe it's nostalgia, a reminder of love, or pure delight at the art's colors and shapes. But there's a story there and that story gives life to the art.

I have a lot of favorite parts of my job, but my favorite favorite comes when my collectors tell me why they choose my artwork. Hearing about their pet, or their family's quirks, or how they met, or their first kiss... these things inspire me, thrill me, and encourage me to keep on creating.

Your story gives your artwork even more meaning, for both you and the artist. Tell your story! 

Pet memorial sculpture by Small Company Artworks

Teach kids the value of art

I'm pretty sure any artist has stories of social resistance to their being "just artists." We're raised to believe that art has no actual value. Just ask artists how many times they've been told they should give away their labor for free "for exposure." Then ask any other person if they'd do the same.*

We're taught that practicing art is a self-indulgence, not a legitimate career. We learn that high-income pursuits should own our time and energy, and "all artists are starving." Or worse, artists have to starve to create Pure Art.

Hogwash, poppycock, and horse feathers.

Just ask art therapist Amy Maricle about the power and importance of creative expression. Ask her about how art journaling can heal, motivate, or overcome self-defeating thoughts.

Or if you prefer scientific research, hop over to the National Institutes of Health and learn about what art is good for.

Let's raise kids to recognize creativity and art as desirable, intensely valuable pursuits that drive innovation, encourage self-understanding, and yeah, can make a living. I said it. Artists can make a living, and that's okay.

*Working free "for exposure" isn't the same as pro bono work for a good cause. There are lots of good reasons for the latter, starting with, you know, a good cause. But let's call a spade a spade.

Let yourself be creative

There's a retreat center near me where people learn Sufi dance moves. A shop in town serves wine alongside a watercolor class. The local rec center offers workshops on painting Italian tiles.

Whatever your thing is, do it. I believe that tile-painting class could change how you look at light and shadows. Those dance moves may make you more aware of how you breathe when you're stressed. That watercolor class can let you relax any Type-A tendencies and have fun with color (and wine).

Making art for fun

Every time we explore, attempt, share, innovate, experiment, educate, or just play, we open ourselves up to the sublime. And we begin to create a world around us that embraces, cherishes, and celebrates art.

Which of these do you do to support the artists you love? What have I forgotten?


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