The benifits of supporting local artists

On Friday I will be giving a talk to a group of interior designers and architects about the importance and benefits of sourcing and commissioning artwork from their local arts community. I will also be informing them about San Jose’s South First Fridays Art Walk and all of the participating venues.

First of all, a lot of people don’t know that San Jose has a thriving art scene. It is evident by the 20+ venues that participate every month in the South First Fridays Art Walk along with lots of other events like the Midtown Beat Art Walk, Japantown Art Walk and the SubZERO Festival. It is quite extraordinary how many great venues that are out there supporting local art and putting on fantastic events. Recently San Jose has been featured in several publications including the Huffington Post article on 7 Off-The-Grid Travel Destinations Definitely Worth A Visit and the Forbes article Silicon Valley’s Secret Subculture, Not So Secret Anymore

In preparing my talk for the designers I thought that these points really apply to everyone and that it would be a good reminder to share why it is important and beneficial to support and patronize your local artists and art venues.

Acquire Something Unique: When you purchase from a local artist or art venue, you are getting unique, one-of-a –kind items. Not something that is mass produces at Z Gallery, Ikea  or other big box store that thousands of other people have. You get to bring something special and exceptional into your life. 

Better Service and Product:You will often get better service and a higher quality product when purchasing from  local artists because they are passionate about what they create, have a better understanding of the products they are selling and will typically take more time to get to know their customers and ensure they are satisfied.
Meet the Artist: It’s rare that we ever get to meet the people who create the products we buy and use daily. When you buy from local artists, you can learn their backgrounds, follow their careers, and even arrange a studio visit to see where and how the magic happens. This builds relationships that can last a lifetime.
Keep Money in Your Community:  Studies have shown that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business (sometimes we forget that artists are small businesses), $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a non-locally owned big box business, where $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves.
Reduce Environmental Impact: Local artists and locally owned art businesses make more local purchases, requiring less transportation, and they generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution. Also, many local artists recycle, reuse and repurpose items to create their work.
Cost Effective: Often times you can get fantastic artwork at very reasonable prices from talented emerging artists. 
Support Future Growth:The unique character of our community is defined by our activities. Shopping locally is the best way to show pride in your city and help protect the businesses that make our city unique.

3 comments on “The benifits of supporting local artists

  1. Shannon Amidon states the case eloquently and succinct. Art is a bridge that links a community and we can impact best on a local level with our spending and support of local art venues.

  2. Hear, hear! So many benefits, so few drawbacks — it’s great of you to point them out particularly to those who can really make good use of the information today. Here’s one idea you may have missed: Shopping locally (at SoFF for example) is fun. Shopping at Ikea is not. Even if the meatballs are cheap….

  3. Thanks Brande, and you are so right Leah. I hate going into those places especially around the holidays. No fun at all, packed with people and craziness.

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