Arts & Culture

How (and why) to Support the Arts in Times of Crisis

Ezra Bebop, Staff Writer

Hello and blessings my fellow Auggies, hope you are faring well and staying afloat in this time of uncertainty. If you’re like me, the thought of writing a paper makes your stomach turn, and you’ve been avoiding that experience by bingeing a show on Netflix, or spending hours falling into your favorite novel, or dancing in your bathroom to That’s Life by Frank Sinatra in your underwear all Joker-style. That last one is me. But, unlike Joker, we can’t happily lose our minds as the world falls apart. We can, however, look to the arts for hope. Art has historically lifted society out of its darkest moments, sharing passion and beauty with each other keeps us connected and in a time of social isolation, staying connected is paramount.  

As you inevitably spend a good handful of hours bingeing TV or playing Animal Crossing, consider the number of human hands that put all that together: writers, designers, production staff, developers, human hands that, even at a corporate level like Netflix, are now laid-off due to the virus. At a local level, performance artists of all kinds and their accompanying events workers now face a difficult new landscape of communicating their passions to the world using digital platforms, which can often be inaccessible for many folks to participate in. Typically, we’d be going to concerts, seeing theatre performances, and relaxing with nights of live poetry.  So how do you, as a consumer of creative works, continue to support artists? 

Right now, while you read this on your digital device, you can do two things. First, go follow and repost to your social media some of your favorite music or links to your favorite visual artist’s work. Local or not, at this point, sharing a piece of art that brings you peace can help others, as well as getting people to notice the artist. Almost all artists have places online where you can buy their work; check out Bandcamp to directly support musicians monetarily instead or in accordance with using a streaming service, as streaming an artist’s music earns them mere cents compared to supporting them directly on Bandcamp. Visual artists– this includes filmmakers, graphic designers, and illustrators– usually have websites or artists pages on social media where you can support them directly (never be afraid to direct message and ask to buy a print or a physical copy!)

If you’re like me and are mostly broke, simply reposting, following, and sparking discussion by interacting with artists digitally is valid and welcome. Trust me, nothing brightens an artist’s day more than an encouraging comment or supportive compliment.  

Now is the time to support each other, now is the time to stay connected. Maybe you’ll be inspired to start creating art of your own! 

Also worth noting, Augsburg hosts a wonderful All Student Art Show where our fellow artistic Auggies will be showcasing visual arts–keep your eyes out for more information on how to interact with the show, taking place digitally on April 21st.