How we can support our favourite artists and creatives during the pandemic

Ruairi Carberry

Each day news from Italy brings more horror. With the death toll continually rising, one cannot help feeling lost when contemplating such a tragedy. However, the videos that emerged last week of Italian citizens singing “Bella Ciao” and other traditional songs from their balconies in solidarity with healthcare staff were certainly uplifting.

It was an example of the resolute nature of creatives in these testing times, however, research has shown that 30 per cent of artists earn less than the 2018 living wage, and with that said it is important to help such people stay afloat. So what are the self-employed community doing to survive and thrive as best they can during the pandemic, and how can we support them at this time and in the coming weeks and months?

In the past week, Boiler Room has continued to stream live sets from artist’s homes and titled the project “Streaming from isolation.” They have included a GoFundMe link in their posts to raise funds for a new charity each week. The past week has seen them raise money for the Global Foodbanking Network, a group that raises money across 40 different countries, to feed the most vulnerable people in society.

Some within the private fitness sector, have taken to lending equipment to clients so they can continue to enjoy their exercise routine from the comfort of their own homes. When their industry gets back up and running take up that class once more to help ease the pressure on self-employed instructors.

On a recent episode of “The Blindboy Podcast”, Blindboy detailed how he had lost out on gig in the London last week, as the UK government had yet to implement any shutdown of mass gatherings, and as a result, Blindboy had been forced to cancel the show out of concern for the audience’s health, and incur all the costs of the show. 

His response has been to ask those who had intended to attend the show, to keep their tickets and if possible don’t seek a refund. The tickets would then be valid upon the show being rescheduled at a later date. He, like other podcasters, has also asked the public to subscribe to their accounts on Patreon during this time. This is a simple way in which we can support our favourite content creator during the uncertainty.

While the Irish Government has committed to honouring existing funding schemes, and the COVID-19 emergency payment scheme can provide support for some self-employed people for up to six weeks, it is unclear at this time whether a new financial support scheme for Irish artists will be created.

So another way we can support creatives is to donate to funds set up by groups like the Civic Theatre in South Dublin, who introduced an “Artist Emergency Relief Fund,” to help those who have lost out on income from exhibitions and gigs scheduled in the coming weeks. It has had a huge number of applicants in the past week, more than it has raised already. The group has said they intend to continue fundraising in a statement released on their website

Each small individual gesture, such as a donation or a simple thank you, can play a huge role in assisting self-employed or creative people, who have shown ingenuity in recent weeks by entertaining the public as anxiety creeps across the world. 

Ruairi Carberry 

Image Credit: Chloe Rooney