What to Buy a Creative for Christmas

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

The holidays are now in full effect and I don't know about you, but every year I run into similar problems whenever I try and shop for my creative friends and family 🙄😒... Creatives are some of the most difficult people to shop for, but this year you're in luck because I've created a guide that'll help you navigate this giving season. Here are 7 things you can give a creative this year:


Membership to a non-profit art space such as Creative Alliance, Maryland Federation of Art, Maryland Hall, etc...

Being a member of a space such as these can be very useful to a creative. Memberships come with perks such as access to exhibit artwork in “members only” shows, discounts on performances and workshops, and invites to “members only/VIP” parties. This gives creatives a chance to be amongst others that have similar interests and values, and it also helps to build community amongst creatives, which is where a lot of collaboration stems from. For example, a few members of Creative Alliance met each other at one of our “members only” events and years later they ended up opening a gallery space together. Examples like this are not that uncommon, and yearly memberships to organizations like this usually don’t cost more than $100 per year.


Subscription to an Art and/or Trade Magazine such as: ArtNews, BmoreArt, HyperAllergic

The best place to learn about what is truly happening and pushing culture and industry forward are trade magazines. Little tidbits such as “a new gallery just opened in XYZ city and they are looking for artists to represent” or “in 2019 the number of acrylic paintings skyrocketed in sales…” can be very helpful for creatives. Reading about who is making moves in your city, nationally and/or internationally can help creatives gain perspective, learn about new opportunities, and possibly even give you someone to reach out to. Magazines dedicated to this sort of grassroots journalism can really make a difference when it comes to being in the know in any given industry and the art world is no different.


Tickets to a workshop or class series

Learning should never stop! Paying for a workshop or class series is a great way to help a creative to continue in his/her creative journey. Places like Creative Alliance, Montpelier, VisArts, etc. are always offering classes such as portrait painting, ceramics, embroidery, sewn figure making, resume building, etc. As a creative, we’re always looking to expand our scope of knowledge and repertoire of skills, so purchasing a class like this will be a lot of fun for the person you’re buying it for AND since almost all of the classes are taught by other artists, your purchase will kill two birds with one stone - paying for an artist to take the class while at the same time paying an artist to teach the class!


Books about creativity

Every once in a while (and probably more often than that) creatives run into what is known as a “creative block”, meaning they may feel uninspired and need something to spark their creativity. A book can be the perfect medicine for such an ailment. Sometimes reading about another artist or tips on how to reboot creativity is just what a creative may need to re-energize them. If you need some ideas on what books could potentially suffice head over to one of my older blog posts 4 BOOKS FOR THE CREATIVE MIND.


Art supplies

Art supplies are EXPENSIVE! Many times artists are selling their work at a relatively expensive price because they need to buy materials in order to keep creating. Any supplies you purchase for a creative is a HUGE help, believe me! Whether that is paint, brushes, rent money, power tools, etc… Trust me, buy a creative some materials they need and they’ll love you forever.


Offer to pay for shipping or entry fees to juried exhibitions

One of the best ways for artists to get their artwork out into the world is through juried shows - meaning, a regional or international show where their work is chosen to be on display by a curator, critic, or another person in the art field whose opinion is held in high regard. But in order to get to this stage, money is involved. Usually it costs money to apply to these shows and then if he/she is accepted into the show they’ll have to ship their artwork to the space, which can actually get crazy expensive. Saving money on an endeavor such as this is a HUGE help for creatives and can potentially help their work be seen by big stakeholders in the art world. You never know where an opportunity like this could take them, so as far as gifts go, this should be at the top of your list.


Buy their art! Prints or originals

Simple as that! Many artists live off their work (or at least that’s the goal). So, buying their art allows them to keep creating the dope sh*t that continues to blow your mind. Plus, it helps to build confidence and encourages artists to keep creating, knowing that someone out there enjoys their work.


You can’t go wrong with any of the suggestions on this list. All of these options WILL help a creative in one way or another, so PLEASE support the creatives in your life by gifting them something that will help push their practice and creativity forward.


Is this list missing anything? Let me know! Happy Holidays!


-Thomas

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