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A guest contribution by Achim Schmacks

The corona crisis is bringing artists to their knees

The Corona crisis has brought quite a few artists to their knees. The omission of exhibitions, sponsoring, fees and customers let some artists in the independent scene run out of steam.

Emergency aid programs do not work or are distributed with the watering can, here too the dry spell is long.

In my producer gallery BLACKOFFICE in Düsseldorf I have had to cancel three exhibitions and postpone them until next year. Postponed is not canceled, but the artists planned for the first half of 2021 will continue to be postponed. We can push, but not make up for everything. Likewise, we cannot make up for the loss of sales, discussions and contacts; many things that are missing cannot be made up for. We don’t catch up, we have to tie on, pick up and continue knitting.

Who invests in art?

The 2009 economic crisis had already had a negative impact on the art scene. Even there, the money was no longer easy, it was saved and invested in other things. Who invests in art?

People invest in art who want to use it to increase money. You buy art that promises an increase in value because we live in times of constant increase, and there seems to be no turning back.

Now there is a turning back! The corona crisis not only has Germany firmly under control, the whole planet has been covered by a pandemic, but the consequences for free artists are only known to a limited extent.

How can I help? A call to museums in cities and districts

Freelance artists are the caregivers of the cultural scene, they turn the wheel day after day – both before, during and after the crisis. Free artists are indispensable in a free, modern society.

I call on the museums of the cities and districts to exhibit their artists. Show your artists, open up your rooms and create space.

Offers artists a platform, opens museums and municipal galleries for their own artists, opens a virtual umbrella, a rescue umbrella for artists, unconditionally, but also as an alternative to the marginal and one-off cash support currently being discussed, which is distributed completely aimlessly and for purposes other than intended.

Don’t leave your cultural workers out in the rain!

How is that supposed to be possible? Quite simply, lists are requested from the cultural offices and professional associations from artists who work freelance, are members or have artist IDs. These artists are invited to present their work publicly in rooms that are usually not accessible to the majority of the artists. Museums and municipal galleries show artists from the city, district or region throughout Germany for a set period of time. This first event is financed by cities, the federal government, the state and sponsors. All exhibitions are freely accessible and with free admission.

Artists are an important part of society

Artists do not live and work for one-off payments, artists are not petitioners in offices, artists are an important part of society, an open society that, without culture and art, loses most of its education, understanding, ethics and zest for life.

Artists working to show their work need a platform to generate new ideas. Artists work in and for society.

Artists deserve more credit

If the artists are to be helped, then my suggestion would be a first step. The first step can be so simple and effective. This step would be recognition of a profession and a calling. Artists, free artists, live in a constant prejudice of bohemian and work-shy. Today’s artists are far from it. Marketing tools, social media and a society that demands more and more and is less and less enthusiastic call for a complete reorientation of the artists. Today the artist deals more and more with self-marketing, time for his own art and ideas often fall by the wayside. Exhibition venues are hotly contested, own projects and work spaces are becoming too expensive.

Artists live in a hamster wheel

Very few protagonists in the independent art scene receive invitations to exhibitions and participation in presentations, usually they have to torment themselves through long application phases and often pay for them. Exhibition rooms are rented out, art agents and brokers offer themselves at top prices. Times in which artists bring their works to museums, purchases are made and the artist lives happily from patrons are long gone and rarely to be found. The artist fights for recognition, attention and exhibition opportunities, he fights for studio space, a place in society and also a place in the museum. The latter is only granted to a few, because the museums block themselves, exhibit highly endowed artists and works and want to offer spectacular,

A rescue parachute for art!

Art should stay on the carpet in our time, a time full of existential fear, uncertainty and a lack of visions for the future. Take the fear away from artists, roll out the red carpet for them, for a society that is valued and envied for its culture and artists worldwide. Open the umbrella, the reserve for art, make room in your houses, offer space for art, space for artists and space for a society that is interested in its artists again.

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