SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — With so many events cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Northern California artists have been impacted. An artist abroad wanted to help find a way for creators to get the support they need during this crisis. He created a way for makers everywhere to connect and even thrive in these times. It's called Artist Support Pledge.
"People are so compelled to support one another. And then be supported by one another. People were just really willing to go with it," said Matthew Burrows, the founder of Artist Support Pledge, an Instagram account and hashtag that artists can use to sell their work.
Artists all over the world have been posting their work for $200 or less, using the hashtag, "#artistsupportpledge." Once they make $1,000 from their work, that artist must spend $200 on other artists' work as part of the pledge they made by using the hashtag.
Burrows said the basis of founding the pledge was on "a culture of trust and generosity."
"It's a much more fluid and productive environment than a highly competitive marketplace," Burrows explained. "If you trust one another and if you're generous to one another, people are more likely to be honest to one another. And honesty is integral to creativity."
Burrows is an artist in East Sussex, England. He started the pledge on March 16th, a week before art spaces and businesses were officially shut down in and around England.
"I realized a potential three month gap with no income was pretty difficult for most artists, and for many it was going to be very difficult," Burrows said. "In a moment, I was still sitting at my computer and I said, ‘Okay, what can I do?’"
The pledge has caught on in California as well. Sacramento artist Katie Kaapcke has sold five pieces of her art since posting her work with #artistsupportpledge. She plans on supporting another local artist who is participating.
"So many artists are participating, so it’s a really cool range of work that you get to see through the hashtag," Kaapcke said. "I think it would be really great to put that money back into the local community."
Kaapcke says it’s not only a way to keep the arts moving forward, but a way to build community among art lovers and artists. She encourages other local artists to use the hashtag if they are not already.
"It’s neat to have this connection with other artists," Kaapcke explained. "That we’re all doing this together."
While the pledge is beneficial to artists and makers especially during this pandemic, Burrows hopes the movement keeps growing even beyond the current situation.
"Perhaps that's what we need—a more imaginative, versatile way of thinking," Burrow's said. "It's showing that perhaps there are multiple ways of sustaining our cultural livelihoods and the cultural economy to allow many more artists to be sustainable."
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