How to support an artist when you can’t afford to buy art

The biggest compliment you can give to an artist is to buy their work directly from them. That way they receive 100% of the sale, as most galleries take 50% of every sale to cover their costs. Artists have work in a variety of price ranges, so chances are you can probably afford something from them.

Think about going to the theater or a concert, you buy a ticket, maybe not front row, but there is always an affordable ticket in your price range. Visual artists let you look for free but that doesn’t mean it didn’t cost them anything to make the work, set up the exhibit and market the event, and you usually get a free glass of wine out of it too! So buying a small item from them helps them recoup their costs and says “Thank you!” for the exhibit (and the free glass of wine).

But of course it is unreasonable to think that every single person walking through an exhibit can or will buy artwork. So, if you are not in a position to buy, how else can you support your favorite artists?
How to support an artist when you can't afford to buy art | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpturephoto credit: Nina Hipkins

You may not be able to afford to buy their art, but you probably know 10 people that can. Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of advertising and rather than recommend that your friend buy that new pair of shoes, how about suggesting your favorite artist to them?

You can also ask the artists for a small stack of postcards or business cards to pass out to your friends. It’s so easy to share artists work on social media, or to forward their email newsletter onto a colleague. And if you really want to go all out, channel your inner Avon-lady and host an exhibit at your home, invite your friends to come and talk with the artist about their work.

Share opportunities with them. Do you know someone opening a restaurant, a new office, or a gallery? Introduce your favorite artists so that they have the opportunity to show their work. Share the art you love with your world and you will be supporting the artists.

Thanks for supporting independent artists!


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