Coronavirus Updates: Artists Help Each Other Out With an Artist Support Pledge on Instagram

COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe with more than 420,000 confirmed cases and over 18,000 deaths. Many countries have closed their borders and issued travel bans in an attempt to contain the outbreak. Various sectors are suffering from an unprecedented economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic. One artist has initiated an Artist Support Pledge project to support emerging artists through this period.

Matthew Burrows launched the Artist Support Pledge on Instagram, putting his work The Seer up for sale

Artists selling their artworks on Instagram with the hashtag #artistsupportpledge

Artists selling their artworks on Instagram with the hashtag #artistsupportpledge

The initiative was started by an artist called Matthew Burrows, hoping to support artists whose livelihoods are affected by the pandemic. ‘Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have found themselves without work, teaching, technical support, gallery work. Exhibitions and sales have disappeared. In an attempt to help alleviate some of this stress I have instigated the ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE,’ written on the artist’s website.

The concept is simple. Artists post images of their work on Instagram which they are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (not including shipping). Anyone can buy the work. Every time an artist reaches £1,000 of sales, they pledge to spend £200 on another artist’s work.

'I realized the work needed to be cheap enough to make selling it an act of generosity, but also I needed to make that infectious,' Burrows says, 'generosity creates generosity.'

Artists selling their artworks on Instagram with the hashtag #artistsupportpledge

Artists selling their artworks on Instagram with the hashtag #artistsupportpledge

The hashtag has generated more than 5,000 posts

Burrows started by offering his 2012 etching on paper titled The Seer, edition of 50, for sale at £200. He received an ‘an immediate response.’ There are now more than 1,000 posts, which he hopes to translate into 1,000 pledges. The hashtag #artistsupportpledge has generated over 5,000 posts in just one week after its launch.

Burrows also launched an award to encourage people to support the project. Keith Tyson supported the initiative with The Tyson Award, which grants £200 to five artists to spend toward completing their own pledges. The award will be made weekly for five weeks, with the artists chosen by a guest selector. Elizabeth Gilmore, director of Hastings Contemporary, will be the first selector.

On one hand, this incentive program can help emerging artists get through this difficult time. On the other hand, if you are lucky, you may be able to buy artworks from up-and-coming artists for £200 only.