Thursday, 28 August 2014

10 ways to enjoy the arts for little or no money

Arts don't have to be elitist, they are there for everyone. And, when I talk about arts I mean all of em. Paintings, dance, theatre and drama, crafts, film, textiles, prints, everything.
I'm passionate about believing that anyone can enjoy the arts. You just need to find the ones that make you think, or make you happy or confuse you. It's all ok. If a thing makes you feel something (regardless of what that may be) then the artist has succeeded in my book.
Many people think of the arts as all about buying expensive original artworks or regularly going to the opera or ballet. These are expensive hobbies, and while wonderful, just not something everyone can do. But that doesn't mean you can enjoy the arts.  

Art can be a part of everyday life and I'd like to share some ideas of how you can do this for a very small budget...
1. Go to Galleries.
Most are free entry here in the UK apart from the really large exhibitions. Look at the work close up and see if you can see how it has been created. Visit smaller galleries, local art shows and pop up spaces. Just go and have a look and see what you think. You don't have to speak knowledgably or spend hours looking at one work if you don't want to. Just do what feels right.
When you see original artworks on show you can see the true colours and scale and in smaller or more local galleries you can often buy original artworks or high quality prints from as little as £30 to £40 or you can buy postcards or just simply enjoy looking at the work.
Many artists and galleries offer artists talks or blog about the work too, so you can hear directly about the inspirations and techniques used.
2. Attend workshops or go visit artist studios on open days.
Attending workshops is often a good way to try something once or learn a specifc technique, and can be surprisingly affordable sometimes.
Visiting artist studios can feel daunting at first, but remember most artists work on their own all day. They often can't wait to talk to people and sometimes really enjoy telling other people about what they do, how they do it and why. Look out for open days and times to visit though, don't just go and knock on people's doors if you suspect they may be an artist!
3. Use Pinterest, but don't just pin ideas, actually make something or display something in a creative way.
I love pinterest, and I mean LOVE it. I'm scarily hooked on it actually, but we'll worry about that later. Many people says it's video games addictive for those who don't play video games and I would agree with that.
But, actually, make something. Many people have 7000 ideas on their pinterest. It's not humanly possible that they have done something with 7000 ideas. So pick one, and try it. Don't worry about failing, just have a go. Often it's the process of doing something more than the product that is most relaxing/enjoyable/frustrating/inspirational. Please delete as appropriate.
4. Use your local library.
Libraries are 21st century treasure. You can rent books about art, watch dvd's, listen to audio books, special request anything you want and all for free or very little money. Art books can be quite expensive but you can borrow them for free from a library.
Don't forget to see what groups meet in your local library too as there can often be painters groups, knitting groups, reading groups and many more.
5. Look at some of the many inspirational talks and tutorials that are on the web.
It's so big really, too big to discuss here but whatever you are interested in will be online somewhere and rarely do you have to pay. Try searching for artists talks, techniques and tips. Look at Youtube, Pinterest and TED. But don't forget TV too, I've recently enjoyed the series 'What do Artists do all day' on iplayer for example.  
6. Think about joining a class.
Obviously I'm going to mention this one, being project manager for Arts on  Prescription. (Little reminder - Free, professionally taught art classes in a range of subjects around East Lancashire - call 01282 661784 or text 07815 962190 for more details). But even if there aren't any local projects offering art classes near you, look at local colleges or think about doing an online class.
7. Enjoy Photography
Today, photography and good photography is more accessible than it's ever been. Many people have fantastic smartphone cameras, older digital cameras are cheaper than ever to buy and DLSR cameras are quite frankly incredible. So why not have a go? There are lots of different tutorials on the web to help you get the most out of whatever you use. Just spend some time thinking about what you want to capture with your photo and look at the background and where the light is. The more you practice the better you get so try it.
And, for inspiration, why not follow some photographers or artists on instagram. It's a great way to see beautiful and professional photography for free. 

8. Find out what is happening where you are.

I can't stress this one enough! Maybe I should have made this Number 1. Join as many mailing lists as you can, you can find out what is happening and often get invites to previews or free activities. Actually take the flyers people hand out in supermarkets and town centres. Look at posters on lampposts, in shops and cafes. Join groups on facebook and overall try and find out what is happening near you.

I do this and it is very rare that there is a week or weekend when I don't know about something exciting going on. If you are local, this weekend it's the Brierfield Mill open weekend arts event (click here) and next weekend is the Pendle Print Festival (click here). Arts on Prescription classes start in September and a new exhibition goes up at The ACE Centre on Monday. And we are a fairly small, rural place. There's always something happening wherever you may live.

9. Attend local art and craft markets or festivals.

Again I have to admit to a vested interest as I run the biannual Nelson Art and Vintage Market (next one is on the 6th and 7th December - facebook link is here).

But seriously, many local markets are only £1 or free entry and often have free activities and demonstrations going on. They can be a fun day out and any money you do spend goes back in local artists and maker pockets and then recirculates in the local economy and keeps the event going so everyone is a winner really.

I also think, it's nice to have something different, when you buy handmade each piece is unique and there is no danger of bumping into someone wearing the same outfit/broach/earrings/bag/scarf as you. At the markets I run you can buy handmade jewellery from as little as £2 and handmade cards from even less. There are a lot of items for sale at £5 or less. Compare that to a high street store and it is relatively affordable.

10. Do something yourself.

A drawing, a sketch, a piece of freeform knitting. Compose a dance piece, make up a new piece of music, write a poem. The list goes on. You don't ever have to show anyone else. Just do it for yourself. What's the worst that can happen?

What do you think? Good list or bad list? I can take it!

What have I missed? Please do add any other tips.

Thanks for reading,


No comments:

Post a Comment