Thursday, March 5, 2009

Artists are unemployed? really?

The National Endowment for the Arts is telling us what we already know intuitively. But their imprimatur says it all in concrete, data-driven, government sanctioned words. Read it and weep.

Many of you/us are job-less. This won't change for a long-time. The thing I still don't understand though is: are they only talking about artists that make their LIVING (i.e. money, significant money, money enough to pay the rent?) Are they including all of our fine feathered friends who work a handful of other jobs to support their art-making?

What about all the directors/waiters/dancers/caterers/data enterers/arts administrators/actors/choreographers/massage therapists/Pilates trainers/painters/ ??/?/? Are they counted by the NEA, the IRS or even our local bean counters?

Intuitively it seems true that artists (whether those that make a living from their work and those that don't) - are getting hit and we are getting hit hard! Income is decreasing on most fronts and expenses are increasing! What's an artist to do? DO WHAT YOU DO BEST ALREADY AND INNATELY! be creative, nimble and innovative. don't give up, don't give in. act from your passion and your courage and do things you believe in and you love.

And then: ask your landlord for a rent reduction! My photographer friend Patrick just got $500 off his rent because he said, "I need to move out by May. I can't afford to stay." Patrick is a great tenant and his landlord loves him so it's a no brainer. It's a renter market out there folks, just ASK. (I even asked my hair cutter for a "artist friendly reduction." If you don't ask, they won't tell!

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