One thing I’ve talked about a lot here over the years is sideline business, and it turns out the art scene is pretty phenomenal at it.
If you are looking for inspiration for things to do as a sideline or In search of unique ways to support artists, here are some sideline jobs (some of which have grown so big they are really full of businesses) from people who normally work in the arts.
For my readers who don’t work in the arts, they may be unaware that 62% of the events industry is unemployed and there is no other place in that area that they are trained for these people to look for work. This industry employed a lot of highly skilled but highly specialized people with some of these skills that don’t exactly translate into other areas.
94% of art workers have lost income this year, with the average loss of income averaging $ 23,500.
While many have picked up temp and entry-level retail, customer service, and waiter jobs to make ends meet, this is a pretty big wage cut for many people (although we all joke that it’s a struggle to make ends meet the Arts – after a certain threshold, especially behind the scenes and in technical areas, this is not the case.
The Brookings Institute has produced an economic report that estimates the impact of COVID on unemployment and the economy. The US is projected to lose 2.7 million jobs and sell goods and services of $ 150 billion. That’s the number for every job in every sector.
The estimated portion of that number that will be in the arts and events industry is 1.4 million jobs and sales of $ 42.5 billion. That is literally just over half of the total unemployed population and a little less than a third of the total lost sales.
You may have seen the hashtag #wemakeevents or the phrase #RedAlert along with pictures of buildings lit in red. It started in the UK, where unemployment actually pulled many event workers out of their public aid programs. However, with the end of additional aid to pandemic aid in the US, we picked up the torch here to get the word out.
You may have seen a number of buildings that were lit in red as you drove around on September 1ststand therefore. It is meant to draw attention to this massive industry that is collapsing (you can follow another hashtag for specifically American updates – #BeAnArtsHero).
On the plus side, there are the beginnings of glimmers of hope for some events. Actors Equity has approved a handful of venues. Theme parks are reopening. There are open air events (which are not possible all winter in the northern states). Other countries are doing far better than us and are fully open again, which is great for those of us touring – as soon as other countries start letting Americans back in.
So there’s a little hope that by next year this will just be a nightmare in the past. In the meantime, below are some specific ways you can support some of the people who are trying to make the most of this strange time.
This is actually my friend Juliana’s page. She has gotten into photography a lot over the past few years and has a dream of creating a million unique cards. You can read about their destination on their website, and when you get down to writing letters, buy some of their unique cards.
(Or if you’d like, who would I write to? Adopt an older pen pal. Here is a retirement home looking for pen pals.)
Perhaps Scenery Bags is one of the most famous stage managers who became hustler companies. These bags are made from recycled curtains and drops from various performances. The company also specializes in some trinkets made from recycled flooring, which are also sourced from a variety of services. Even better, when you purchase one of these items, you are helping send children to the theater by partnering with TDF (when there is theater back to broadcast them to).
This artist, who I worked with a few summers ago, does a variety of needlework including homemade cards and jewelry. Your projects are very diverse. I’ve seen wall art, coasters, and more. I especially like their Christmas cards.
This fun Etsy shop has loads of cool theater stickers to choose from. If you are a stage manager or there is one in your life these are some of the best topics I have seen in a long time that are aligned in our way.
This stage manager has focused on her website selling the vintage sewing patterns and clothing. A large number of sewing companies and decades are represented in their finds. If the sewing mistake bit you during quarantine, check their website for a pattern and fabric for your next project.
This cute Etsy shop has a variety of homemade goods from a set designer and costume designer. They sell masks, stickers, earrings, and charms. While many have strong theater inclinations, there are some fun, random designs out there too.
Regardless of your sexual orientation, Liv makes fantastic jewelry from recycled sources for everyone. The products are constantly changing based on what they find to create new wearable works of art.
If you’re looking for something super unique, these personalized games (created by an actress and her sister) are really cool. A little pricey, but the uniqueness of them is really fascinating (I honestly saw this as a gift for my father for Christmas in years when I was a bit more flush).
This artistic director has a nifty soap company. They also have a wide variety of shaving and beard grooming options in stock, something to keep in mind as the holidays approach and all theaters remain closed and all art workers still don’t have their work back.
This shop offers masks and tote bags made by a stage manager. I personally love the Snailed It bag. There are lots of cool designs to check out.
This company, run by a former Ringling employee, sells crazy patterned onesies for adults. Absolutely perfect for social distancing at home in – especially when we return in the colder months. Their main market is companies that are looking for a unique pick-me-up for their employees. The website says, “Sure, T-shirts, hoodies and socks are cool. But do you know what’s even cooler? The team gift that nobody else has – a handmade romper from Onesie Industries. “Just a head up, that’s them very expensive.
If you work in the arts and have a side business, please leave a link in the comments so people can support you!
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