Feb. 28, 2023

66. Supporting the Arts

Today's episode is about supporting the arts. Download to hear more about 1) supporting local artists 2) increasing arts education and institutions, and 3) making art more accessible in your community.

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Welcome to Spend, Donate, Invest, this is a podcast with short, laid back episodes where we explore the topic of the power of our money. Because we vote, we protest, and we have a clear sense that this is not the world we want, and questions about how our money might play into things. So this is not your traditional personal finance podcast in the sense that it’s not about how to make more money, you won’t get that sort of discussion here. This podcast is about what we’re doing with the money we already have. Maybe you feel weird about the fact that you recycle and maybe you even drive a fuel efficient vehicle, but…your 401K is chock full of climate destroyers. Or maybe you have it in your mind that you’d like to give away some of your money, but you’re not sure how to think about that.

Every episode, we talk about how we can use our money to reinforce our values in the world. This week we’re talking about how we can use your money to support the arts. Art is an important part of a healthy community. I was reading something by the writer Heather Havrilesky recently and she said that Art is the opposite of Shame. That really struck me. Art can be transformative. Art can be galvanizing, it can clarify our values and even serve as a rallying cry. Art can subvert harmful, powerful institutions. Art can make us care about what is right in front of our faces. Art can also heal us, it can bolster us when we are weak. I could just go on and on.

And the thing about art is that it will always persevere, even when economies collapse, or it is censored. And we can be a part of what sustains art. We can use our money to support this value. I’m going to provide a few ideas today. I’d love to hear your ideas as well.

Shop locally. If you are decorating your place, instead of going to a megastore, you might consider checking out the artists in your town. I’ve enjoyed going to art festivals in my city, I’ve seen art sometimes at farmer’s markets and in local shops. If you are in Washington DC, I’ve seen some beautiful art in Eastern Market, Union Market, Anacostia Arts Center, and depending on your budget, you can obviously shop from the galleries across the city. That’s one way to support the arts, shop locally, pay artists for their work, don’t nickel and dime them to death. And that goes for all mediums, I have had prints and paintings and wall hangings on my mind because I’m currently decorating, but this goes for local theater, local music, local writers, local bookstores, local clothing and jewelry designers. There is so much local art we can support, right under our noses. So shop locally.

My next thought is about supporting art education. Art in schools has ripple effects. Students who have access to quality music instruction score 20% better on English and math tests. Students who participate in arts at school are way less likely to drop out and way more likely to be recognized for academic achievements. When you vote in your local elections, support initiatives that are trying to provide art education for school children. I listed a bunch of reasons that are all about improving academic achievement, but we should also support art education for children for the sake of the beauty, and the creative expression of it all. So vote to keep art in schools, if you’re in California, you can opt to donate to the Keep Arts in Schools Fund on your state tax returns. I will include the link below.

For my listeners with large budgets, I’d encourage you to think about how to make art more accessible. Supporting local artists is great, but I’d encourage you to push yourself to think about how you can make that art accessible to others, so that it isn’t just for your friends and family to enjoy in your homes or private collections, but rather you find a way to make the art more accessible. This came to me when I was reading about the grantees for DC’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities this year. I’ll include a link in the show notes in case you want to pore over their art as well. As I understand it, the program buys art from local artists and then puts the art in public buildings. I just loved looking through the artists that were selected. Really beautiful stuff. And back to the point on shopping locally, a lot of the artists do have websites in case you are looking for something beautiful to complete your space. When I talk about making art accessible, I am thinking about paintings and sculptures, photography, the visual arts. But I’m also thinking about accessibility of other forms of art- who in your community gets the opportunity to attend dance or theater performances? Concerts. Who gets to participate in art therapy? I want to encourage you to engage with art and at the same time push us forward in terms of making that very same art more accessible.

So those are my 3 ideas today on how we can use our money to support the arts. 1) think locally 2) think about strengthening the institutions such as art education in schools 3) don’t hoard the art.

I would love to know how you are using your money to support the arts, send me a message anytime at spend donate invest at gmail dot com. If you have another topic you’d like to hear about, please send me a message, or you can go onto the show’s website which is at spend donate invest dot world if you want to send me a voice recording of your topic. Let’s talk again soon!