One weekend every year we have a tradition of taking time to be thankful for the wonderful things in our lives. Some of us are lucky enough to count an artistic passion among the things that we can be grateful for. Many of us can count the experience of art in our community as a valuable part of our lives. This Thanksgiving I found myself wondering how I can express my gratitude to the artists in my community who have positively impacted my life and who are fueling the rejuvenation of our beautiful city. What can we do to support the artists who give their passion and their time in order to share their work with us?
First and foremost we can get out and experience art in our community. Go see a play. Go to an art gallery. Go see live music. Buy a ticket. Art is hard work, it is valuable and your ticket money is greatly appreciated. If you have limited disposable income there are many groups that offer Pay What You Can (PWYC) nights or even better see if there are volunteer opportunities that allow you to attend for free. Get out there and see something new: a poetry slam, some stand-up or a circus arts performance. For many of us with a passion for the arts this level of engagement is already a part of our lives but perhaps there is someone in our lives for whom we can be a bridge into the wonderful world of the arts in Hamilton. Bring a friend. Has someone said to you, “I’ve heard about that, I keep meaning to go” or even “I’ve never been, I don’t know if I would like it”? Perhaps that person is just waiting for the opportunity to dive in. What would happen if you said, “I’ve been and it’s great. I’ll go with you if you’re interested.” Our presence as patrons is the most valuable thing we can offer to the arts in our community.
Secondly, talk about the art in your community that inspires you. Did you see a great show? Write a post for social media about it. Did you pass by something beautiful at Art Crawl? Take an art selfie. Did you hear a fabulous local band last night? Tell your coworkers about it. Spread the word. One of the most powerful ways to impact a local artist is through word of mouth. If something really made a strong impression then find that artist on social media and share a link to their work, it only takes a few seconds and is very valuable to that artist.
Last but not least; tell the artist. It may feel strange I know, but the truth is the path of an artist can be hard and discouraging sometimes, especially for the emerging artist. If someone’s work has really made an impact on you then let them know. Send an email or, if the artist makes themselves available, tell them in person. A simple “Thanks that was a great show” can really go a long way.