What concerns me most about today’s arts economy is the lack of support for the individual artist. When thinking of the struggle artists have, I find it amazing that in the North Texas area there are so few opportunities for them to receive support. Indeed, all of us working in non-profit arts management have the opportunity to supplement income with grants and corporate support. However, individual artists are often not granted the same opportunity to supplement their own income through grants. The individual artist is the most vital, intrinsic aspect of our entire industry.
Funding the individual artist also equals marketing support for our many arts organizations. The individual artist also has the power to drive audiences to performances at a time when traditional advertising is losing ground. Today’s marketing is much more about “circle of influence” than it was say ten years ago. Who better to gain a circle of influence than an artist? They are far more efficient at adding audiences to your favorite arts organization by bringing their fan base to an arts performance with which they’re involved. This saves in marketing dollars for our arts organizations!
At Artsnet, we have shifted our granting strategies in the Mid-cities area to encourage grants from individual artists to offset this difficulty. Indeed, as times get tough, our greatest talents are migrating to other areas where their work can be supported by opportunities beyond just paid “gigs” to supplement their most basic needs. We are in danger of losing our amazing talent in the North Texas area to other cities.