There's a reason the stereotype "starving artists" has stuck around for so long.
A three-part article by The Associated Press in Saturday's AZ Daily Sun talks about being on the upswing of "The Great Recession," but that people are still being "focused, cautious and tactical" about their spending.
Which is wise, of course. But the current climate of the economy makes me worry about the welfare of artists, both locally and nationally.
Nowadays, it's "easy" to be creative, and we all know that there is an inner artist just waiting to come out of each and every one of us. Pottery classes, Martha Stewart Living magazines, and just a trip to Michael's can be very inspiring. But there's a difference between our creative episodes and BEING AN ARTIST.
Being an artist means that you have taken a very real and dramatic plunge into doing your art full-time. You have a schedule and your work day consists of producing product. You are a professional; you are not a hobbyist. And your job produces something that is intrinsically valuable to society.
I was struck by the importance artists have in our society as I walked around during First Friday Artwalk. Mainly, I realized that if I didn't start buying stuff at First Friday, instead of just socializing, then the artists were never going to recoup the cost of wine and cheese, much less make a decent living for their services.
Artists are already so giving to us. They give more gifts, pro-bono, to charity than probably any other profession. They buy tons and tons of liquor and appetizers for all the openings. They don't even get health insurance for doing what they love.
It is a good citizen who become a patron of the arts. Because I like to give as good as I get, I've decided that I'm going to buy all of my holiday presents from local artists. It should be super easy--everyone loves something original and handmade.
And if anyone wants to buy me a present, keep me in mind at the next First Friday on December 3rd!