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There’s no denying that art inspires us and brings us joy. It bridges the gap between cultures and validates our experiences. Art is also part of a healthy community — and a healthy mind, body and soul. Science validates this. And yet, as entrepreneurs and business owners, we tend to think of art as “nice to have,” as something that’s not as important to the world as the other businesses we create. But the truth is, we need art and the artists who create art more than ever, especially in this economy. Here’s why.
Art makes us feel seen
Art validates the human experience. Through art, artists communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions. They put those feelings out into the world with the hope that even one other person will be able to connect with them.
When we open our minds and connect through art, we’re exchanging knowledge and thought on an intensely personal level, possibly with people who we never thought we’d connect with. Artists allow the door to open between cultural backgrounds; what they create can break down cultural barriers. Art can heal.
Art bridges the gap between communities, creates empathy in situations where communications are strained and helps to remind us that, at the end of the day, we are all human beings with similar experiences, no matter what community we belong to or language we speak.
Related: The Art of Investing in Art
Art defines culture
Art also preserves history. Think of everything one piece of art represents:
The time period in which it was made
The reason the artist created it
The medium and tools used
The public’s response to the piece
All of these details (and more) paint a picture of a moment in time. Not only has art survived through time and traversed all around the world, but it also doesn’t discriminate amongst age, gender, race or status. Art explores every culture, every class and all spectrums of the human experience from childhood to old age.
Culture can be studied through art and not just the famed artists that history favors, like your Da Vincis and van Goghs. Artists in every corner of the world, even the most unexplored or unthought-of places, can guide us through the culture their work represents.
Art is good for the economy
As if art doesn’t do enough good for our health and our local communities, it also strengthens the economy. Really. Creative industries provide jobs, encourage tourism and boost revenue to local businesses. Labor studies also show that the value added by arts and culture to the U.S. economy is five times greater than the value from the agricultural sector.
Fashion, film, television, performing arts, publishing, music — all of these creative industries and many more directly benefit our local and overall economies. These sectors even grew during the pandemic, while many industries struggled.
Now that the point for supporting artists has been made, let’s talk about the how. Here are a few tips on how to support artists:
Buy from the artist directly
How can you support artists who have contributed to the world and made an impact on your life? The first and most obvious way, of course, is to buy art. More specifically, buy work directly from the artist rather than a distributor. Buying art directly without the middleman ensures that every penny you spend will support the artist directly.
Keep in mind that the price of a piece of art not only reflects value, but time, effort and resources as well. If you’d spend a certain amount of money on a print of a famous artist’s work — one who might not even be living anymore — expect to pay a similar amount, if not more, for work from a living, breathing artist who is producing equally great work.
You can’t catapult an already famous artist like Monet into much more success. Your purchase typically goes toward an estate or fund, which doesn’t impact Monet as a person. When you buy from a current artist, you’re directly investing in the artist’s future and career. You’re encouraging them to keep producing art.
Vote with your dollars
Another way to support artists is to vote. Vote to keep nonprofits and programs that value the arts, fund them and keep them alive. Despite all their benefits, the arts are often first to go when budgets are limited in schools and other facilities.
Vote with your dollars, too. Voting with your dollars means to mindfully spend, invest or donate your money to causes you care about. Find people and organizations in the arts that you can support. Charity Navigator and GuideStar are great tools that can help you find nonprofits involved in the arts. Or look for a local business to buy from rather than a big box store or corporation that doesn’t need your money.
Art is vital to our survival and well-being as a species. Despite everything that art provides, artists often don’t get the appreciation or support that they need. So, invest in creativity by becoming an art advocate, not just for your favorite artist, but for the future of artists. Let’s hope we never have to know what life would be like without art.