Hello, Gordon, here, I am an artist and Arts Producer / Project Manager. We are all aware of the current situation and the effects on everybody's livelihoods, mental health and well being. I hope you are well and saying safe.
I wanted to set up a emergency fund like those across the country. Average artist income is £6k. Even with part time work it's £14k. All that has gone. We all strive to support artists on Teesside. We do this by listening to artists and acting on what impacts them in sustaining a creative career.
The creative and cultural industries are now valued at £111.7 billion, growing more than twice the rate of the economy. These same industries are reliant on the labour of freelancers, self-employed workers and artists, yet these are the same people who are at the frontline of precariousness. In times of crisis, change, cuts & pandemics, the foundation of our workforce that we "celebrate" annually for their contributions to economic growth are most vulnerable.
Many workers face economic uncertainty, while bills, childcare costs, rent and livelihoods demand so much. Artists are the lowest paid in the creative industries. The visual arts sector relies on them, but pay conditions and support are poor. We are about to enter even more turbulence due to Covid-19.
Tie all of this with no statutory sick pay, cancellations, pending lockdown and an industry not centred on care, the potential for further harm is greater than ever. We are already seeing artists and freelancers unable to work due to the closing of galleries, events, civic spaces and public gatherings
This fund is inspired by Luke Barnes who established a mechanism to support Artists in Liverpool affected by Coronavirus and its various impacts. The idea is to provide hardship funds for any artists, cultural workers, practitioners and creative freelancers that cannot work during this time or who have been affected by cancellations or other impacts.
These will be available to artists with a TS postcode. If this fund speaks to you, we want to help. We will distribute small amounts of money to asap to as many people as possible. If you can give, please give generously. If we make more than what we're fundraising for, we'll be able to support more artists. If we get lots of generous donations, we'll go again, for as long as we can. If you are an artist please do not contribute unless you can afford it.
COV19 has already reminded us that poverty, difficulty and unhealthy ways of working are putting people directly in harm's way. I think it's time we support the most vulnerable and, as a region, get real pragmatic with what we champion and who we enable. This applies to all aspects of society. If we truly support our artists, this is a direct way of helping them.
Artists live here. Artists work here.
Thank you all for your support and kindness.