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25 Ways to Help an Artist is a little booklet I wrote with the intention of, well, helping artists. I wanted to suggest a bunch of ways someone without a lot of money could still help support an emerging artist. I figured many friends of ‘starving artists’ were likewise financially strapped. By ‘emerging’ I meant ‘those who could use some help,’ as opposed to those artists who’ve pretty much made it (at least, to the point they are able to support themselves as artists).
There’s a curious disconnect when it comes to art. We ‘value’ art; we ‘appreciate’ art; we may even ‘support’ the arts, and those are all good things. What we often do not do, however, is take any risk for actual artists, support actual artists, or consider what it takes to develop actual artists.
Hold on! Now we’re talking about the person behind the sculpture, poem, or painting – he needs encouragement, enthusiastic promotion, an introduction to our friends, a place to display his work, a written review, lots of shares on social media. He needs financial help (yes, actual money!), help toting display panels or manning a sales table, opportunities to speak, commissions, tools.
And, to develop actual artists? Don’t get me started! The next Bach was going to emerge from among the 10,000 children in the choir schools we didn’t start all over the country. The next Michelangelo? Still waiting for an apprenticeship in the studio of the master artist who forgot he was responsible for teaching the next generation. The next Gaudi? Sorry, his ‘education’ kept him away from the natural world, was silent about the golden proportion and the music of the spheres, had no budget for art education, gave him pop tunes instead of Gregorian chant, taught him geometry without handing him a compass or ruler, and led him to believe the Greatest Story had already been told!
Anyway, I digress. About that project…
I want to rewrite (and, of course, augment) this as How and Why to Help Catholic Artists. Meanwhile, the original is still available and still has great tips for both artists and their patrons. It’s a handy way for artists to educate the people around them who might need a bit of elbow-in-the-ribs. Get the booklet here.
This is my first volley in the ‘low cost philanthropy’ game, but I do aspire to do more in that vein before too much longer. Watch for my thoughts on economics and the Church, and for projects we’re doing through the Joy Foundation.