There were no results on a google search for either “Lift a finger to support artists” or “Lift a finger in support of artists”. There was one search result for “Lift a finger for art” and two for “Lift a finger for artists”… and that just seems so telling, doesn’t it?
You may have heard that an entire first year MFA class left school last week at the University of Southern California, and that all but one of the graduating class boycotted the ceremony (read more here). You may have also heard that a new record price was set for an art object sold at auction, Picasso’s Women of Algiers selling for $179 million, which happens to be more than the entire annual budget of the National Endowment for the Arts. (read more here)…. Thats one painting. A single purchase. A lot of money. None of it seen by an actual artist………
All in all it seems terrible times for support given to living, breathing, and aspiring artists….. If more people would only lift even a single finger to support artists, perhaps things would be different.
Until then, artists have been known to lift a finger as the situation calls for it. An entire University class opting out was a strong message, and the art world and academia have been reverberating with it as we continue to measure the fallout. Its all too rare that artists stand up for themselves against institutional pressures. The game seems unfairly rigged, and the artists themselves are left fighting for the scraps….. The wardens want to get their jolly perks. The bureaucrats are counting their beans. The gatekeepers are measuring your work’s resale value for when your coffin has finally been planted and they get to make some real money…..
While the significant power seems mostly out of our art creating hands we do have one card to play that is especially suited to artists: We can express ourselves. We can lift our own voices, our fingers, if no one else will. We can say, “Here’s one for the warden. Thanks for your support!”