Artists and the Economy – Postcard Protest to the White House

Los Angeles art critic, founder of Coagular Art Journal and Huffington Post contributor, Mat Gleason said, “I want to curate a show of artists with 50 grand or more of student loan debt that they are behind in paying. Oh wait, there is not a gallery big enough for this exhibit…” As you may imagine, this got a number of people talking, including New York artist CJ Nye, who approached Gleason with an idea, resulting in this postcard protest project.

The postcard protest is open to all struggling US self-identified professional visual artists. The guidelines include:

1) Make a postcard

The aim is to make a powerful, unified, statement; to that end:
• Don’t deviate from any of the guidelines please, consistency is key.
• Use a standard postcard size: 4×6″ or 5×7″.
• Keep it flat, it’s a postcard.
• Don’t be hostile, we want them to listen.
• Make it good, we’re saying art is worth supporting, show it.

2) Write: *

• “Artists and the Economy”
• A statement or two related to your finances (suggestions below)
• “Please donate to the Smithsonian American Art Museum.”

* A lot of people have asked to broaden this even further, comprehensively in fact. Support is lovely, so, yes, absolutely – BUT – in order to keep the message clear, please write:
• “Support Artists and the Economy”
• A statement clearly defining your relation to struggling artists:
- what art means to you as a viewer
- the fact that you are another (non-visual) type of artist, etc…
- the fact that you are a RARE example of a thriving artist
• Use your judgement- does your work belong in the Smithsonian?

3) Address it to:

President Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

4) Take a photo of the front and post it to this page.

5) Drop it in a mailbox for POSTMARK: Friday, 2 SEPTEMBER 2011.
(Prior completely my fault- forgot PO is closed Labor Day. Thanks!)

Simple. The impact it has, depends on you.
Let’s make a statement, artists.

Best~ CJ Nye


• Your degree, your school, your student loan debt
• Your day job(s)
• Self-supporting or being supported?
• “Artists are generally more educated than the workforce as a whole.” NEA
• “Artists generally earn less than workers with similar levels of education.” NEA
• “Artists are 3.5 times more likely than other workers to be self-employed.” NEA
• “About 60 percent of artists and related workers are self-employed.” BLS
• “Only the most successful fine artists are able to support themselves solely through the sale of their works.” BLS
• “Most fine artists have at least one other job to support their art careers.” BLS
• “[A]rtists advance professionally as their work circulates and as they establish a reputation for a particular style.” BLS
• “[T]he demand for artwork is dependent on consumers having disposable income….” BLS
• “Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year” Americans for the Arts
• “To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great.” Barack Obama
• “[A]rts education is the most important known factor in influencing arts participation trends.” NEA
• “If [the decline of childhood arts education] continue[s], the health of the arts ecosystem will be in jeopardy.” NEA
• “Ensure Tax Fairness for Artists: Barack Obama supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act [amending the Code regarding charitable contributions]….” Barack Obama
• “American artists, performers and thinkers – representing our values and ideals – can inspire people both at home and all over the world.” Barack Obama

For a list of artists planning to contribute and an opportunity to continue this conversation with Ms. Nye, please attend and share this public event on Facebook.

Also, be sure to share with with other artists who would be interested in this exhibition.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Artists and the Economy – Postcard Protest to the White House”

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