This Just In: Support Other Artists

Earlier this summer, a high school senior interviewed me about the pandemic. One of their questions asked if the coronavirus proves governments should fund STEM/scientific research over the arts, particularly in schools. Here’s how I answered:

This pandemic is proving the vital need for STEM research and scientific funding. These areas are crucial investments at both the federal and state governments. Though, during this time of crisis, individuals turned to the arts for comfort, entertainment, and information. Pageviews at The Writing Cooperative are up over the last few weeks as more people look for creative outlets. There shouldn’t be a sole focus on science or art funding; both are crucial to the wellbeing of society.

Justin Cox

People are turning to the arts more than ever. Last weekend, Disney blew us all away with Hamilton. Watching, I wondered how many people were experiencing the theater for the first time, seeing the magic created as a group of talented artists come together to create something they’re passionate about.

As wonderful as Hamilton was, the flip side of the coin is heartbreaking. Flip through the Hamilton Playbill and read the hundreds of names involved in the production. Unfortunately, almost everyone involved — from the actors to the musicians to the lighting engineers to the theater ushers — are out of work for at least the remainder of the year. While keeping Broadway dark is the right thing to do for public safety, it still hurts.

Broadway being closed shines a high-profile light on the need to support artists. Not just in schools, but with our own paychecks. Theaters are closed. Galleries are shuttered. Artists are struggling, yet they still create. Every Zoom concert, Instagram art show, and essay produced is a drive to put something good into the world for others to enjoy, process, and explore.

People can directly support my writing by purchasing a Substack subscription and, every time someone does, I’m grateful. I try to use my writing income to support other artists whose work I enjoy. Today, I encourage you to do the same. Buy a book. Purchase art. Subscribe to a newsletter. Supporting artists helps them continue to create and brings a bit of joy into your life. It’s a win-win!

If you’re looking for artists to support, here are a few worth your consideration:

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of artists worth supporting. There are many, many more on my list and I hope you have a list of your own.

The bottom line is simple: you can be a patron of the arts without buying a wing in your local theater. If you enjoy something, consider supporting the person who created it.

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