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It’s all rather gloomy, isn’t it? Throughout history, the arts have provided a constant respite during times of crisis – human connection when all hope is lost. That’s a little tricky now with us being in near-global lockdown. In order to ensure that the coronavirus doesn’t get the better of galleries and theatres around the world, it’s more important than ever to offer support from afar. Here are eight ways to prevent COVID-19 from triggering the final curtain call on creative institutions. P.S. They don’t all require you to make a donation…
The arts industry needs you. Here’s how you can help.
1. Surrender or substitute void tickets
Plenty of institutions are offering refunds for performances that are no longer going ahead, but if you can afford to do so, offer up the price of your ticket as a donation instead.
2. Embark on some virtual tours
Google Arts & Culture provides free online exhibits from galleries around the world, and not just the mainstream ones. New York’s LGBTQ Center has a fascinating exhibition on the first pride marches and the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi is currently showing a collection of photography documenting the Vanishing World of Parsis.
Elsewhere, Art Basel Hong Kong is sticking it to coronavirus by digitalising this year’s fair and offering “online viewing rooms”. The Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid has virtualised its Rembrandt and Amsterdam portraiture exhibition and e-visitors to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History can sweep through a handful of past and present exhibitions without paying a penny.
In order for these institutions to rebound successfully from the crisis, it’s imperative they sustain and grow their audiences. Clicking through their adapted collections will help bolster the institutions’ online profiles – and you might learn a thing or two in the process.
3. Donate to the Actors Fund
It’s a charity that offers a financial and psychological safety net for performing arts professionals. Beneficiaries receive emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counselling. While the Actors Fund is registered in Britain, those in the US should check out Creative Capital’s list of arts resources during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s primarily a platform for artists in need of emergency grants/ resources, but the organisations mentioned are always looking for donations from generous philanthropists.
4. Sign this petition
Given the contactless world we currently inhabit, we’re thankful for digitised political platforms such as Change.org. This particular campaign urges Boris Johnson to legally close arts and leisure venues around the UK – a move which would enable such institutions to claim on their loss of income. Brits, make your voice heard by signing on the dotted line.
5. Pay for that Patreon
You’ve likely been listening to that podcast for a while now – the free episodes, that is. If there were ever a time to stump up the cash and access its exclusive content, it’s now. Use the money otherwise spent on your morning latte to fund that artist’s podcast or burgeoning comedy show.
6. Use responsible streaming sources
Let’s not pirate anything for a while. Make sure you’re streaming all of your content legally so those responsible for producing that arthouse film or low-budget TV show don’t miss out financially.
7. Promote talent
Anyone in the creative industries knows the value of networking. If you have a significant following on social media, use your platform to promote talented artists, musicians and actors you might have stumbled across while ambling through the digital ether.
8. Support side hustles
Such is the state of play at the moment, most people aren’t able to support themselves financially through their creative endeavours. While difficult socio-economic conditions can provide fresh challenges for artists thereby leading to exciting new movements, this crisis is going to take its toll on creative types mentally.
Provide emotional support to friends and family who have creative enterprises outside of their day jobs by spending a little on their latest ceramics collection or a framed print (depending on their skill set). A little bit of appreciation will go a long way.
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