Arts Stimulus: Ten Small Action Steps You Can Take Right Now

April 22, 2009 at 12:41 am (Artist Musings)

The economy is bad. That is a fact. Many artists, including myself, are struggling to make ends meet. In fact, the arts as a whole are suffering.

Renee Phillips, Director of Manhattan Arts International writes: “Although historically the art market is far less sensitive to economic crises and geopolitical events than other assets, we are currently living in a new global economy… Jill Conner keeps a close eye on the art market. A critic based in New York City and a Contributing Editor to Contemporary magazine and other art publications, Connor points out that sales in the third tier galleries started to dry up in the summer of 2008, followed by the second and first tiers. She reminds us that numerous galleries in major cities like New York City are facing demise, and several art magazines have had to delay their publication schedules due to a drop in advertising revenues. Art museums are reacting with freezes on hiring and spending cutbacks. Yes, it’s just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s going to be a long, cold winter.” Art Calendar / The Business Magazine for the Visual Artist

So, what can you do to help? Here is a list of ten small action steps you can take right now.

1. Participate in your local, regional or state arts councils. Here in North Carolina, we have The United Arts Council and the NC Arts Council. The United Arts Council lists volunteer opportunities on their website.

2. Whenever possible, wear or carry something handmade.

3. Buy handmade from local retailers.

4. Go to a craft show. This Saturday, I will be showing at Spring Daze in Bond Park in Cary, NC. On May 16th and May 17th, Artsplosure takes over Moore Square in Downtown Raleigh. Admission to both Spring Daze and Artsplosure is free.

5. Expose your children to the arts. Your children are our future art collectors. Take them to the North Carolina Museum of Art. Bring them to Artspace. Visit the Rocky Mount Art Center. Admission to the Rocky Mount Art Center and Artspace are free. In fact, on August 23rd, Artspace hosts Family Fun Day, a one-of-a-kind carnival for the whole family.

6. Join an arts organization. Many arts organizations offer memberships for families for under $100 annually. Two organizations I belong to are Artspace and Piedmont Craftsmen. Family membership at Artspace is $60 and includes priority registration and discounts for classes (including the Summer Arts Program), workshops, and special events. More importantly, membership support ensures that Artspace continues to be one of the region’s leading and most unique cultural institutions. Established in 1963, Piedmont Craftsmen represents the highest standard of contemporary and traditional craft. Over 400 exhibiting members from throughout the Southeast have been juried into the guild. The organization conducts workshops, mounts exhibitions, and operates a gallery and shop at 601 North Trade Street in Winston-Salem, NC. Supporting membership starts at $50.

7. Donate to the arts. You don’t have to donate a lot to be a patron of the arts. On April 2nd, Artspace hosted a “Give and Take” event in which 50 works of art were donated by local artists and sold for $50 to support The Summer Arts Program. The event raised over $5000 ($50 at a time).

8. Host an open house. When I first went into business, I hosted an open house just in time for Christmas. I created a display in my dining room featuring my work and the work of several other artists. I provided a comfortable, casual place for my friends and the neighbors to socialize and shop. It was a fun and successful event.

9. Take a class. The City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation (Sertoma Arts Center and Pullen Arts Center), The Town of Cary, and Artspace all offer adult arts education programs (in addition to their children’s programs and camps). I have had the pleasure of taking three jewelry classes at The Pullen Arts Center, including enameling and two other metals classes. These six week courses (all of which cost under $100) helped me explore new techniques in a safe, comfortable, and casual atmosphere. In August, The Crafts Center at NC State will re-open its doors. The Crafts Center at NC State University functions as an art school specializing in crafts. Classes are offered each semester in various craft media such as pottery, photography, woodworking, fiber arts, lapidary, glass, jewelry, metals and more. Classes are offered for all skill levels from beginner to advanced and are open to NCSU students, faculty, staff, and the general public. The Fall 2009 class brochure will be available in July. Visit The Crafts Center at NC State online for more information.

10. Get involved. Make sure your state and federal representatives know that the arts are important to you.

So, for the rest of the week, I will be in my studio getting ready for Spring Daze. I hope to see you there on Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. in Bond Park in Cary. Have a good week.


  1. McRay Studios said,

    Hey Lauren,

    Your blog is look’n good. Keep up the good work.

    Much success, McRay


  2. The Artrepreneur Coach said,

    Thank you Lauren for mentioning me and my article on your fantastic blog! Keep blogging! All the best,
    Renee Phillips
    The Artrepreneur Coach


    • onlylauren said,

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am so honored.


  3. Solar Panel said,

    Whoa, great read. I just found your blog and I’m already a fan. =)


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