Being a freelance writer has it’s ups and downs. The Ups – I get to choose my holidays, I get to work in a range of environments and meet a range of brilliant creative individuals, I get 200 % job satisfaction. The Downs – Job security! Up until recently this wasn’t a huge problem if your prepared to live in a fashion where you don’t know where your next pay check is coming from and you can give over to the faith that some job or other will come in – and invariably it does. This year however has been slightly different this has been the first year in seven when I have noticed a real dearth of arts projects. On speaking with some organisations like Creative Partnerships it became apparent that many have been waiting to hear the outcome of the budget before committing to any of the usual arts projects. I have experienced first hand the cancellation of a few projects and workshops as funding that was before available is diverted elsewhere! Is this a sign of times to come? I very much hope not but hope will not pay the rent! So what are we artists to do? In a climate of belt tightening it is clear that the arts are not always high on people’s agendas which is a shame given that it is at these times of increased stress that many will turn to entertainment, to story, to poetry to not only provide escape but also hope.
If indeed funding streams are drying up (can you tell I’m still hopeful!) for the arts what are us humble artists to do? I think the answer lies in finding new and innovative ways of making our art pay, in an ideal world there would be funding and we would all skip happily into the sunset with our commissions under our arms, but given that that future is not guaranteed I think we all need to be seriously thinking about how we can make our art sell! about how (dare I say it) we can make our art commercial! Will this be a good thing? A healthy thing? A terrible thing? I don’t know – but I do know this – if we’re to survive we’re gonna have to adapt!
Image courtesy of Tadek Kurpaski