The ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE was instigated by artist Matthew Burrows, using the hastag #artistsupportpledge on Instagram, in response to the coronavirus and the lose of freelance employment for many artists and makers, as well as gallery closures and reduced or curtailed sales.
Many make no money from their art at all and rely on the kind of self-employment that has been drastically affected by the outbreak. Many work on the basis of public commissions and grants producing art that is viewed and enjoyed by crowds of people - also gone. Some artists derive most of their income from two or three art fairs during a year, the loss of which can be an even more devastating blow. To lose a big chunk of sales in one go that you'd been relying on to cover say the next 3 or 4 months expenses is a pretty scary predicament and one that you might never be able to recifiy.
In fact, right across the spectrum of creative sectors so many workers operate on an insecure, self-employed basis. Which is now also the case for hundreds of other less 'creative' professions. It is a state of affairs that is proving unable to withstand the kind of storm we are now in.
It's also proving true that during such stormy times, people will turn to art and creativity for escape, for reassurance and relief. And so Matthew's idea was to use the potential of saleable artworks and the enthusiasm of artists and art lovers to create a generous movement that could lend a helping hand to creatives and supply the artistic succour that buyers might crave.
Artists taking part make the pledge to sell works for up, to but no more than, £200 (and quite possibly a lot less as you can see on this site). When they reach sales of £1000 they commit to buying a work by another artist to keep the distribution moving.
Of course, if they're lucky enough to have the spare cash an artist could buy work before they reach £1000 or even before they've made a sale themselves. There's no reason in fact, why an artist can't donate some of their sales to a charity or a friend or just give it to another artist without buying a work. Especially if they're successful enough already to have the funds to weather the storm.
Obviously, artists will need buyers initially who can afford to buy work from them and as has been pointed out by many already, virtually everyone is affected or at least threatened financially in some way by the crisis. But there have been many sales under the pledge so far, so things seem to be moving regardless of financial threat.
The point is, the works are cheap and generously offered, in a spirit of cooperation with other artists and buyers, in the hope of spreading something more positive and uplifting among us.
The support pledge has already reached distant shores (I hesitate to use the word viral) and if you'd like to see all the works on offer by all the artists, follow the hashtag #artistsupportpledge on Instagram.
Happy sharing, happy buying.