CiT: How To Nurture Creativity in the Community
It’s one thing to know how to help yourself prioritize your creative whims or how to reach out to a friend to give her a hand. But how do we, as individuals, encourage members of the creative community? The task sounds daunting, especially when we open the definition of community up to include people we either don’t know so well or maybe we have never even met.
Still, supporting that larger community is an important part of our individual growth. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Donate Cash: Let’s get this one out of the way first thing. Donating money is certainly a fine way (but not the only way!) to support creatives, especially larger groups. With sites like Kickstarter, it’s easy to help out a group in financial need. Also consider donating to local arts centers like libraries, museums, schools, and theatres.
Donate Goods/Materials: Before you throw something in the trash, be kind to the earth and the community by looking for someone who might be able to use those items. Some organizations, like St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, collect used greeting cards, which they then reuse and sell to fund their programs. Try listing items on your local Freecycle site and you’ll be surprised what other people may be looking for to finish a project.
Organize or Host a Creative Event: I’ve recently joined a writing group and it has been a great encouragement to me to realize that I’m not alone in my struggles. If you can’t find an existing event or group to join, consider starting your own! It could be a book club, quilting circle, cookie bake or just an opportunity to get together and chat about your projects.
Promote: Today, everyone seems to be online. A great way to show support is to help spread the word. Share the creative’s online presence with yours. Like their Facebook page, retweet a link to their blog, and recommend the Etsy shop to your friends. And don’t limit that support to online – tell your friends, recommend artists you appreciate to coworkers, or take a pal to an in-person event.
Purchase: If you can afford to, support the creative community when you shop. They need your support much more than the corner big box! If money is tight, consider bartering – if you sew and a friend crochets, trade one of your adorable bags for one of her cozy hats. By gifting items (or even services – what about giving a certificate for guitar lessons from a local musician?), you not only put a little money in the creator’s pocket but you also introduce their work to someone new. Not to mention the gift recipient will be delighted by the thought you put into choosing something unique for them.
Participate: Don’t underestimate the value of your participation as a contribution to the creative community. It doesn’t necessarily require a lot of time or money to offer support. By showing up, sharing ideas, or giving a little encouragement, you are adding to the community in an important way. Writers need readers. Thinkers need listeners. We all benefit from an extra set of eyes or ears. The addition of your voice may be exactly what keeps someone from giving up when they struggle or feeling alone in their celebrations.
These are just a few of the ways you can help the larger creative community. What other ideas do you have?