One of the complaints I hear most often from artists when it comes to selling their work is how hard it is to convince people to spend their money on original art.
It’s true, many people are more than willing to spend their hard earned money on high priced items such as clothes, video games, flat screen TVs, and of course that sexy new iPad, but when it comes to original art, the response is often “That’s a bit out of my price range.”
There are a many, many reasons why people feel this way about art, but it’s counter-productive to complain, judge, or mock people for thinking this way. Instead, I propose that it’s time for people who support the arts to lead by example.
If we expect others to buy original work made by artists, artisans, designers, and other Creatives, then we have to spend our money on original work made by artists, artisans, designers, and other Creatives.
We artists are producers and vendors, but we also have purchasing power. With that buying power comes the opportunity to show the ways in which owning original and hand-made items actually benefits the quality of their lives--so much so that we want to gift that benefit to the people we care about most.
What if we simply decided that for gifts this year, we would only buy and offer gifts made by artists?
Thinking about buying your father- in-law a scarf? What if you bought him this on etsy?
Do you have a sister who absolutely loves jewelry? Why not offer her something gorgeously hand-crafted from Little Paper Planes?
Looking for an extra cool and edgy hand-made gift for your niece or nephew? How about checking out the BUST MagazineCraftacular and Food Fair?
How about instead of that Starbuck’s gift card you offer a gift certificate from Artsicle or 20x200?
What if you skipped the mall all together and went out of your way to check out everything the small, local boutiques in your city have to offer? Your buying choices not only show that you value art, but your purchase puts money into the pockets of other artists.
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
But folks, we are not a "small group", we are many. The question is-- how will we harness our buying power to our own benefit?
What’s on your Holiday gift-giving list this year?
How could you change your gift list to demonstrate that you value and support the arts?
Share your thoughts and ideas in comments.