Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to all! This holiday season, I have been challenging my Twitter and Facebook friends to buy responsibly this year. I am a firm believer that if you want change to happen in our world, we need to start voting with our money every day. This means that we need to make better choices as to where we place our money. Instead of buying at a big box that lines the pockets of corporate CEOs that don’t need the money, consider buying with F.A.C.E. values: Fair trade, American/Artist made, Charities paid, and Environment saved. This means that you will need to be more aware about who is behind the products you are buying and who is behind the stores you purchase from.
One great way to ensure that your money is going directly to real people is to buy from artists. Here are 11 ways you can become an audience development agent for the arts by purchasing directly from artists:
1. Find your local arts and crafts galleries – You can purchase charming one-of-a-kind gifts at your local arts and crafts galleries, and the money goes to the artists that made the art.
2. Buy music on CD Baby - CD Baby has a bunch of cd’s from indie artists. Their database can lead you to local musicians or music of a particular genre.
3. Purchase tickets or gift certificates to a local arts company – Instead of buying cheaply made stuff from China, why not purchase an experience for your friends and family. Whether they like music, art, dance, theatre, there is sure to be a local event that they will enjoy. This can include tickets to a performance or a gift certificate for a workshop to teach them how to be an artist. Remember, the Chinese product will fall apart in a few years, but the memory of the arts experience will last a lifetime.
4. Commission artwork just for them – There are many artists that can do a piece especially for you and your loved ones. If you have admired the art of an artist, find out if you can commission a special artwork piece this season.
5. Hire artists for your special holiday party this year – Nothing comes close to live art. You can hire a small music group, a few artists, or actors to provide entertainment for your holiday party. Your holiday party will become a prized event for years to come!
6. Buy on Etsy this season - There are tons of artists from around the world that supply affordable arts and crafts on Etsy. Each purchase will help support an artist.
7. Bring-a-friend to a performance or workshop – This is similar to purchasing tickets or gift certificates, but instead, you are enjoying the experience with your friends and family. Again, the memories that result are priceless!
8. Frame them this season – I happen to be someone that purchases art, but I usually have several pieces that are in need of framing. I can’t be the only one. If you know someone like me, offer to frame their art this season so they can start enjoying their artwork.
9. If your friends and family members like worldly gifts, buy Fair Trade items this year – If you Google “Fair Trade Artisans,” you will find a variety of Fair Trade sites where you can purchase well-intentioned gifts. The purchases help people from all over the world who have hand crafted gifts with love and care. Ten Thousand Villages is one of the finds on this Google search and looks to have some amazing gifts!
10. Do you have a special photograph of a memory, loved one, or cherished family pet? There are many artists that can turn your photograph into a work of art. Ask your local Arts Alliance for help in finding an artist, or look for local workshops that teach you how to do it yourself!
11. Hire a photographer to do a special photo shoot for your holiday gathering – We may think we know how to take a picture, but there are talented photographers in your area that will turn your memories into artistic memories.
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Audience Development Specialists
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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”