There’s been a lot of chatter recently about the impending doom of civilization due to the possible defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts. If all of the people displaying social media outrage actually supported the arts – you know, with their actual time and/or money – there wouldn’t be an issue. If you want to “live in a country that supports the Arts” then…support the Arts.
Let me be clear: I am a strong advocate for the Arts and actively support them. My wife and I don’t sit back, point to government funding for the Arts, and say “see, we as a Nation support the Arts; we’re so awesome and enlightened.” No, we actually support real artists with our own money. That takes effort, thought, and making choices about what to support with our limited time and funds.
When I lived in Virginia Beach and in Georgia I listened to NPR frequently in the car – especially “Wait, Wait” and “Car Talk” – so I donated to those local NPR stations.
I’ve always wanted to find ways to help bring new art into the world so I’ve personally commissioned music compositions and visual art (with my money); or, when I had no money as a college student, created opportunities for said artists to collaborate and create new works.
My wife and I, through a Kickstarter campaign, helped fund the Veronica Mars movie because we loved the show and wanted to help the creator bring the movie to the screen.
We’ve purchased multiple original works of art from young or relatively unknown artists because we fell in love with their work and wanted to support their future work.
I’ve donated to several symphony orchestras over the years because I liked what they were doing and wanted them to continue doing it. While at NEC, I became a subscriber to the Boston Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. I really liked their creative approach and it was relatively cheap to do a subscription.
You want to live in a country that supports the Arts? Buy someone’s music instead of downloading it off a pirate site or using YouTube to listen to their music. Love that author? Buy the book. When you’re looking for decor for your apartment, go to a local gallery and find something you love; you’d be surprised how affordable original art can be from a young artist. Listen to NPR or watch PBS? Try donating. Don’t have $10 to spare? Try donating your time during the pledge drives. Instead of waiting for that documentary to come to Netflix or uploaded on YouTube, go find it in a local theater. Feel bad that the local symphony is struggling? Try going to a concert or donating a little money. Every little bit helps. Buy that photo you love that’s hanging in the coffee shop you go to every weekend. Buy that CD from the busker at the train station or from the guy who plays at your local cafe. Not sure where to start? Go on Kickstarter. Stop complaining about the end of the Arts because the federal government might stop funding it and do something. Yourself. Trust me; it’s a lot more satisfying AND effective.