The City That Invests in its Artists

The arts, by their nature, are fleeting, sibylline, and intangible. As such, the cultural "return on investment" of the arts is often intangible as well.

When we look at housing or food security we can measure units built or meals served. The metrics on the arts and other creative endeavors are more challenging.

But artists, and those who support them, love nothing more than a challenge.

Because we know that cities without artists are not thriving cities.

This blog post is the first in a series about how to invest locally into the creative economy. Because the city that invests in its artists invests in itself.

(art by Caleb North for Hyper Local Impact)

Okay! So where do we start? I can sum this up in two words:


What might this look like?

1. Buy tickets to their shows

2. Buy their merch

3. Buy their album/vinyl (don't just stream, Spotify pays artists almost nothing)

4. Commission an original work as a gift for yourself or a loved one

5. Buy a print of theirs

6. Support their Patreon page

7. Venmo them $10 when they post something you love on their instagram and say something cute like"thank you for creating, I found value in that post"(artists, list your venmo in your social bios!)

8. Buy their art off the wall at a cafe, then tell the manager to keep showing local art

9. Sign up for a private class with them, pay them for it

10. Donate to support local public art initiatives (here or here are two places to start)

11. Make a monthly contribution to your favorite arts nonprofit

12. Hire local artists for your business's photography and illustration needs (I vowed to not start a business until I could afford to do this)

13. Become a member of a local gallery or museum, or a season ticket subscriber, or just appoint yourself world's biggest fan and go to all their shows (that's almost literally how I met my husband)

14. Never asking them do something for "exposure" as payment (yuck)

There are endless ways.

My next post will be about purchasing art from local artists for your home or office. But first, know this: there is no wrong way to ask an artist how you can pay them to create beauty in the world. Relationships over transactions. Forever.

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