July 10, 2023
As a visual artist, I create pieces that I hope will captivate and inspire others. That will bring pleasure and trigger emotion. Yet sometimes, with a new project or collection, even after doing this for so many years, there is a little voice inside my head that wonders if anyone will take notice. Or, whilst doing all the hard work that goes into preparing an exhibition, I can't help but ask myself whether anyone will show-up, let alone consider making a purchase.
But what if there was a way for you, as an art-lover, to help ease these concerns for artists and makers? What if you could support artists in ways that make a significant impact, even if that impact is not immediately visible?
In this article, I explore twelve meaningful, and often very easy, ways to support your favourite artists and help foster a thriving artistic community.
So let me get the obvious one out of way first. But don't worry if spending money on art isn't currently feasible. There are plenty of quick, easy ways to help, which have little or no cost attached.
Make that art purchase directly from the artist
If you are in the market for new artwork then buying artwork directly from the artist helps ensure that they receive the full value of their work. You can find artists selling their work at art fairs, open studios and online through their own websites.
Make an effort to attend art exhibitions, gallery openings, open studio events and art trails in your community. Engage with the artwork, meet the artists, and learn about their creative processes. Your presence not only boosts the artists' confidence, but knowing they have an interested audience also encourages them to continue producing exceptional work.
Share details of each exhibition with your friends, family and colleagues to spread the word. Share the artist's social media posts. Forward their exhibition emails to art lovers you know. Or people who are redecorating. This will help bring more people to their events.
And after each event why not share a photo and say how much you enjoyed it and the art. Quick and easy stuff you can do to help.
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The community you choose to surround yourself with holds significant influence. By actively informing your friends and family about talented artists, inviting your circle to art events and exhibitions, and engaging in conversations about their artwork, you can play a vital role in spreading awareness of their artistic abilities. If you're part of a social group, organise or suggest a group outings to local art events.
Leverage the power of social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And the likes of Pinterest and LinkedIn to promote the work of visual artists. Follow the artists, share their artwork, and provide positive feedback. Tagging the artist and commenting on their posts can expand their reach and introduce their creations to a broader audience.
Your support, in doing these relatively simple things, can lead to new opportunities for the artists, such as exhibitions, collaborations, new collectors or commissions.
Writing positive reviews of an artist's work on sites such as Google, Trustpilot or Facebook will help attract new art buyers and boost the artist's credibility. Or write a review on the artist's website.
If a particular painting triggers a response in you, write a comment on the artist's website. Or simply send a quick email to an artist showing your appreciation. Such a simple gesture can be a real morale booster. Everyone loves a compliment. And to know that what they are doing brings happiness or value to others.
Many artists have email newsletters where they share their latest works, upcoming events, insights into their creative process, and more. Subscribing to their email mailing list is a great way to stay up-to-date with their work and support them. And you will usually be first to find out about new stuff and subscriber bonuses.
And don't hesitate to engage with artists. Most artists are thrilled when their subscribers reply to their emails. So let them know what you think of their new work or the content they've written.
Why not forward an artist's emails to friends or family members when it contains information and content you think they would find useful or enjoy. For example, an event they could attend. Or a piece of art that you think they would love for their new extension or newly decorated home. Or because you know they love blue abstracts, for example.
By opening your space as a venue for an exhibition, you extend meaningful support to the artist. If you have a suitable space at the place where you work then this could also simultaneously raise awareness for your company or group.
Seize the opportunity to create a remarkable environment for gathering individuals, fostering connections, and uniting people in a collective appreciation of art.
Here's an idea if you love getting friends together in your home for a social evening and a glass of wine, or for a coffee afternoon. If you have a local artist whose work you love then invite them too. Host the event for friends who love art. And invite the artist to bring a few pieces of art to show you and your guest. Ask the artist to briefly talk about the art and their art practice.
This is a great way to introduce an artist's work to new people who will enjoy it and possibly become new collectors. And your reputation as a fabulous host of soirees with a difference, will skyrocket.
Do you have a spacious home that you love sharing with others? Or an easily accessible garden with a summer house or garden studio? If you love art and meeting new people, then you may be interested in hosting one or several local artists or makers during a weekend arts trail event.
Many local arts trails are always looking for new venues. Reach out the organiser of your local arts trail and find out more.
Consider commissioning a piece of art that aligns with your personal taste, a specific theme, or adds the perfect finishing touch to your home. Collaborating with artists on commissioned projects allows you to acquire a custom artwork that holds personal significance for you.
Giving a piece of art, perhaps a print, as a present to friends and family not only shows your fine taste and your appreciation for the artist's talent. It also helps expand the artist's audience and reach. And each time the gift recipient sees your present then they will think of you.
Supporting visual artists is essential in helping to sustain their work and the arts. And promoting creativity in our increasingly crazy world can only be a good thing, right? Whether it's through purchasing art, sharing the work of artists you love on social media, attending art shows and exhibitions, commissioning custom artwork, gifting artwork, subscribing to artists' newsletter, writing reviews, or promoting artists among your community, there are so many ways to show support and appreciation for talented artists and help foster a thriving artistic community.
There are probably more ways than those I've shared, for you to help support local artists and arts projects in your area. You could always ask the artists next time you are at an art event. Or connect with local artists on social media and find out. There are so many benefits to art, including mental well-being. So becoming more immersed in art and the local arts scene is surely a path to happiness.
If you have any more suggestions for ways to support your local arts community then please do share them in the comments.
Jayne Leighton Herd
Artist & Designer
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Jayne Leighton Herd is a fine artist & designer based in Berkshire in the UK. She produces beautifully colourful contemporary statement abstract, landscape and seascape art.
A professional artist for over 17 years, she undertakes commissions for bespoke art for both individual and commercial clients.
Jayne also blogs for Claude & Leighton, which she owns and runs with her husband Laurent, selling her open and limited edition fine art prints.
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Jayne Leighton Herd is a professional abstract & landscape artist based in Wokingham in Berkshire, UK.