Funding for Artists?

There’s much talk about at the moment about funding artists to just be artists.

There was an article in the Irish Times  saying that Ireland were going to pay a select number of “creatives” around €300 a week https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/it-s-a-game-changer-for-us-artists-welcome-guaranteed-basic-income-plan-1.4699820

And wouldn’t this be just marvellous? To be able to just get on with it. To be honest I’d be thrilled with that amount per month… but to have an amount you could actually live off while you get to grips with building your body of work and your audience in a meaningful way would be mind blowing. It has an immediate impact on the artist, but an incredible effect on our society too, that artists are valued, and contribute to the way we live our best lives.  A couple of days later I saw this cartoon on Facebook and snorted my tea. 

There are so many justifications one has to make about audience, and community participation when applying for funding, it’s a real skill writing the bid for art work that doesn’t immediately engage people who don’t usually encounter contemporary art. You know what? I’m 60 years old. I have spent my entire working life engaging children in and out of school, students, rich middle aged women, poor single parents, people with mental health issues, old people in hospitals… I’ve done my community time thanks. 

The work I want to make now is mine. I want to intellectually and creatively engage with other artists in order to develop myself. I no longer feel the need to explain my work to an eight year old. I just want to get on with it.

I am extremely fortunate that I can just about financially manage to do this, with occasional very welcome support from ACE, and ongoing support from my family. But a universal basic income would be terrific for my state of mind, my sense of independence, and would extend my scope- I could travel more, and work with the artists I would love to work with, who happen to live in other parts of the country, and the rest of the world. I have these contacts, but am unable to access the opportunities fully.

I somehow doubt this current government would even consider UBI, and as I get older I doubt I will ever see such a thing before my own state pension kicks in. But I can dream right? And keep writing to my (Conservative) MP, and sign petitions… 

I’m old enough to remember the one good thing Margaret Thatcher did… the Enterprise Allowance Scheme… which gave self employed people an income to develop their work – including artists, comedians and musicians… maybe I’ll write another letter to my MP, she might listen to a Thatcherite proposal, but I never thought I’d be recommending one!

2 thoughts on “Funding for Artists?

  1. stuartmayes says:

    Hello hello!

    Love this post! Did the same thing with my tea! So much to say about it too , only have half an hour until a meeting that I need to prepare for.

    And of course I want to thank you properly for your email about my ’theme/subject’. I have been thinking more about it and realise that masculinity antifragile (a concept that is new to me and VERY appealing) or otherwise still misses the mark. I think though the thing that I have been dealing with since my first college days in the mid 80s (Foundation course, Southend on Sea) is the status of things. This obviously includes people and objects, and what I find particularly interesting is that something’s status is a socio-political and cultural construct, it is also relational and contextual. I work with a lot of low status materials, I question my social/perceived status as a man/gay man. I enjoy grassroots art activism (low status) but also strive to make high status art and venues available and accessible … This is still a ’work in progress’ but it feels as though I. ight be on to something that makes sense both retrospectively and going forward.

    Wishing you a fantastic Friday – studio sorting? New drawing? Tea and contemplation? It’s the First of Advent on Sunday which really launches the Christmas season here and though I am not in the slightest religious I love First Advent and the count down to Christmas. Do you do anything special, advent baking, advent candle(s) … ?

    Thanks again for a great post! Love S x

    Stuart Mayes

    Telephone: +46 (0) 171 401 591 Mobile: +46 (0) 722 000 968

    Home: Västerleden 62 lgh 1202, 745 62 Enköping, Sweden

    > 25 nov. 2021 kl. 16:59 skrev Elena Thomas : > >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elena Thomas says:

      Thanks Stuart! yes… the status thing is interesting isn’t it? I recognise in myself I am a bit of a purist when it comes to materials… and possibly a snob. Boot polish and newspaper just doesn’t float my boat! Christmas just hasn’t really occurred to me just yet… once we actually get into December I will start making lists… and doing housework! haha! I think this is definitely a conversation to be continued…

      Like

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