INVEST IN YOUR ARTIST is a challenge to the system of values that keeps the majority of artists operating in survival mode, vs. thriving as working class citizens of our shared culture and economy. It is an ask for you to reflect upon:
- Your personal relationship to art.
- How you spend your money.
- What your spending says about what you value.
Invest in the continued growth, work, and sustainability of multi-disciplinary artist, Paris Hurley, by making a one-time investment of any amount, or a recurring $25 monthly contribution using the INVEST/SUBSCRIBE buttons below.
All funds will support the general expenses associated with being a working class, multi-disciplinary artist:
- LIVING EXPENSES: rent / food / utilities / health insurance
- TOOLS + EQUIPMENT: instruments (supplies, maintenance & repair) / amplification / recording / notation software
- ARTISTIC PRACTICE + CONTINUED EDUCATION: dance classes / workshops
- BUSINESS EXPENSES: web hosting / permits / instrument insurance / business cards
- PROJECT SPECIFIC EXPENSES: artist fees / supplies & materials (costumes, lights, sets) / space rental (for rehearsing & presenting) / recording & documentation costs
If you have access to financial resources, I invite you to participate in this way. You can also support/invest through attending shows, spreading the word, instigating dialogues about the value of art and the sustainability of artists, encouraging other artists to try this model, or by buying artifacts directly from the artists you need + love. For more about the philosophy behind INVEST IN YOUR ARTIST, read on.
Our current model in the US isn't working. As a culture, we pay $15+ to see a movie, $4+ for a coffee, and $10+ for a cocktail without batting an eye. We scoff at ticket prices above $10 for seeing new music, dance, or theater. We download music for free or through businesses who feed their piggybanks with our money and pay artists pennies. We support Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Hatchfund campaigns that are intended to fund only a singular project, not the sustainability of an artist - and even then, the reality of the larger economic system requires tangible hard expenses be prioritized, with artist payments often shelved, diminished, or abandoned all together. Artists continually do other artists 'favors' - collaborating, engineering, arranging, choreographing, and performing in each other's work without pay, further perpetuating the cycle of unsustainability.
What about the process? What about the research? What about the training? What about the exhale, the after, and the spaces between making larger works? What about those pesky basic living expenses? What about healthcare? Taxes? Retirement?
How do we shift the value system to reflect the ways art impacts our lives ON a daily basis and support the sustainability of those WHO MAKE IT?
I'm going to borrow from the intellectual property of my longtime collaborator and brilliant friend, Beth Fleenor, and ask you to reflect on how much music you encounter within just a single day - both consciously through choice, and passively through the environments & activities you engage in. [In the shower, in the car, in the stores you shop, in the movies & TV shows you watch, on your morning run, while you're sitting at your desk or cooking dinner...] Spend one day cataloging your experiences through this lens - or even watch a movie with the closed captions on, sound off - and then reflect on how music is affecting/driving/shaping/manipulating/supporting and present in your daily existence.
Reflect on what that is worth to you.
While I vehemently reject the notion that money accurately reflects the value of a person, a job, an action, a thought, an experience, or an object, the system that we live in, and have ultimately agreed upon, takes money to survive. How we spend our money says a lot about what we value.
Art is everywhere. It marks our histories, challenges our choices/assumptions/beliefs/actions/accepted norms, and provides solace, emotional outlet, & catharsis. It gives us beauty. It heals. And yet, as a culture, we overwhelmingly don't value it as a contribution to our society that needs to be cultivated and cared for. We take it, and those making it, for granted. We deem it frivolous. We cut it from our schools. We underutilize it as a modality for healing within our prisons and other disenfranchised communities. And we don't provide structural support that accurately reflects the needs of those making it. Yes, there are a multitude of museums, galleries selling visual art with high-end price tags, grants, ballets, Broadway musicals, and symphonies, but these things only represent a very specific slice out of a whole gigantic, underutilized and undervalued pie.
HOW CAN WE PAY OUR ARTISTS A LIVING WAGE?
If artists started charging the ticket & album prices (etc.) that it would take to sustainably live and work as an artist, very few would pay it; some out of an inability to do so - greatly limiting accessibility to those in restrictive income brackets, some because of the disconnect between how we engage in art and how we value it, and many because of the mythic idea that being an artist is A: not a job, B: lazy, or C: a privilege one should be grateful/happy to engage with on the side, or live in sacrifice of. Six months of process are seen as a luxury; the final performance, artifact, or 'end result' the only glorified, legitimized, and validated aspects given social & monetary value. And there certainly isn't a place for six months of process for the sake of process - process as a larger cycle within the life/career of an artist, not always leading to an identifiably tangible outcome.
You may think art isn't saving lives (I wholeheartedly disagree), but you'd never expect a doctor to work for free, or suggest that one should just be grateful they get to do what they love without it providing for their basic living expenses.
I am proposing a new value system where we as individuals take a step towards supporting our artists, vs. relying on the larger structures currently in place (businesses/foundations/granting organizations/government) to do so; a shift in the paradigm where we, as a culture, acknowledge the value of art and our artists, creating a sustainable space for them within our society.
I am not alone in this proposal. These thoughts have been shaped by conversations/interactions with many artists in my community, and beyond. For more engagement with some of the perspectives and models being utilized, check out THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS.
AN IMPORTANT DETAIL.
I want to acknowledge here that I am privileged.
I am white. I am young. I am able-bodied. I am American. I have choice. I have a community of support. I am not in imminent danger for speaking out and sharing my beliefs or my truths. I get to spend my time doing what I love.
I want to challenge the system of values that keeps the majority of artists operating in survival mode, vs. thriving as working class citizens of our shared culture and economy.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for considering. Thank you for valuing art & artists. Thank you for supporting. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for questioning. Thank you for being. Thank you for making. Thank you for engaging.