Why You Shouldn't Support the Arts


People have the best intentions. “I'm going to your show to support you and your art.” Or how about your average art fundraiser event?. “Bid on this piece now and support the arts in your community!”

What does the word support bring to mind, however? Something that can’t stand up on it’s own. Sick people need support. Upset people need support. Injured people need support. Babies need support. If you support other people, they’re your dependents on your taxes.

I believe this brings about a self-fulfilling prophecy. By insisting that we have to support the arts we’ve planted a seed in the collective consciousness that the arts are weak. The public hears it, artists hear it, and collectors hear it.

By this point, that seed has grown into a fully grown vine that has choked out the beliefs of so many of us. Artists are full of doubt about their work. Parents advise their children to go into a “real” line of work because the arts are for dreamers and drifters. Universities don’t teach their art students business skills because what’s the point? Left and right, people expect artists to work for free. Every artist alive has heard the old song and dance, I'm supporting you by giving you visibility.

The arts help to reveal the local flavor and character of a community. The arts uplift our spirits. Murals make our neighborhoods safer. Art offers healing and self expression. Art adds beauty and connects with us on an emotional level. It allows you to take home a little piece of your fabulous vacation. The arts add style and insight to our lives. Art often leads the way for scientific advancements. It’s only called science fiction until someone actually figures out how to make it real.

Consider the following invitations. Which party would you rather attend?

Invitation #1. Host: I’m throwing myself a party. If you don’t come I’ll be really upset. I’m worried no one’s going to show up. Oh, and would you mind making the food? I shouldn’t have to spend any money on my birthday and I don’t want to stain my dress. Everyone there will be so impressed by your cooking. It will give you a lot of exposure and maybe they’ll hire you for their parties. Or...

Invitation #2. Host: I’m throwing a huge bash. Everyone’s coming! There’s going to be great food and desert. I’d love it if you’d come because I you’re such a great person to be around. I’m decorating the house, and all you have to bring is a smile!

You’d want to go to the second party, right? The first party sounds like the host is a narcissistic mooch who’s trying to take advantage of you. But she’s been a little sad lately, so you’d better go so you don’t let her down. You wouldn’t want her birthday to be a flop, so you should make an appearance and be supportive.

As an artist, I’m no longer asking for your supportive hand outs. It’s time to celebrate the arts! They've been working hard and they deserve it!

Have the arts added value to your life? Has a piece of art moved you to tears? Have you used an invention lately that began as an abstract, artistic idea? Does studying other painters, musicians, poets, authors, or actors inspire you to want to make some art yourself? Then the arts have added value to your life!

I don’t know about you, but celebrating sounds much more fun than supporting. Stop guilting people in to getting involved. It’s all about how you spin it. Let’s stop this pitty party and shift our mindset. We might just see a shift in our reality.

If you'd like to celebrate making art, come on by and check out my class page. It's a great place to start. Seascape Success is coming up soon. I'd love to help you learn how to relax and paint the ocean.


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© 2015 by Jennifer Laurel Keller