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Since my conversation with artist and cultural ambassador Janice Bond (click to listen), I’ve been thinking about how artists and creatives can build creative economies. Before the industrial age, economies were mostly made up of artisans, merchants and producers who provided products and services to their communities. People made enough to make a living and their incomes did not depend on the productivity of a large corporation, nor the whim of markets in places where they did not live. Before the industrial age, the only place you saw a large number of people working for a few was in indentured / involuntary situations. 

To quote Kanye West, “WE ALL SLAVES!”

*uncomfortable pause*

Seriously though, one major difference between an employee and a business is that employees think about income, while business owners think about profit, revenue and operating costs. Pretend that your artistic/creative community is a village of artisans, merchants and creators who not only sell to each other, but include each other in their businesses expenses. 

This month, think of ways you can financially support your creative friends. Make your fellow creatives a part of your business. Get them paid. 

Pay your writer friend to write stories for a photo series you’re working on. Instead of searching for free music for your video or podcast, paying a producer you know for a custom composition. Or, as Janice does, pay your DJ friends to make a mixtape just for you. Pay your friend who paints to make an original mural on a wall in your home. Commission your friends. Write your creative friends into your business plan. 

Tell me on Twitter @HighwaterMag how you plan to financially support an artist this month, using the hashtag #HWSupport

Supporting You Sincerely, 

Highwater Weekly Picks  
Note: Award details and deadlines are subject to change. Consult each application website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. 

  • Did you know there is a word for the chills you get when you listen to good music? It's called "frission." This Slate article talks about this phenomenon, and why only two-thirds of all people get skin quakes from meaningful art. 
  • ALL ARTISTS: The Awesome Foundation is a micro-granting organization with several local chapters. Grants of $1,000 are given to artists on a rolling, monthly basis. More info here.
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