Thursday, August 27, 2015
Supporting the Arts: Small Gestures, Big Impacts.
That first sale as an artist is one you don't forget. For me it was the ultimate affirmation that my work was more than just a self indulgent hobby. In the beginning I was pleased just to pay for my supplies. Soon I began selling at shows and through galleries, and my hobby had become a job. Eventually the hope is that it takes over as my primary source of income; every artists' dream, right? Yet it all began with that first sale.
Recently I gave an old workbench to my neighbor, who is also an artist. We were discussing an upcoming show when her daughter approached and wanted to give me a gift! Her mother had set up a special "studio" space so she could explore her own creativity. What I received was the beautiful, sparkly flower encrusted Popsicle stick you see above; only her uninhibited five year old brain had come up with some far more fantastical name than that. I told her I absolutely LOVED it, but would feel much better if I could buy it from her. I proceeded to pull out a crisp new dollar bill and presented it; her first sale. The sparkle in her eyes rivaled that of the flower stick I held in my other hand. She thanked me, held the bill by both edges, and slowly retreated back to her "studio". Her mother and I resumed talking, only to notice her leaping about the garage, proudly holding her dollar with outstretched arms directly in front of her. I quietly commented that the real test would be how long before she was on my front porch trying to sell me more. Well, I didn't even make it off of HER front porch before she presented me with a lovely pair to go with the first one...for sale of course! I was so proud of her! I have to admit that I still do the happy-leapy thing when I make a sale, only I do it on the inside.....usually......
I have no doubt been fortunate in my artistic adventures, and I try to repay the art world through advocacy, education, and the occasional purchase. I feel it's in our best interest as artists to support one another, and our industry as a whole. Mother Theresa said, "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." The tiniest actions can have tremendous impacts, so make them good actions. It's the least we can do as artists and patrons to pay back the art world for letting us come and play.