Emerging artists pledge to financially support each other

Matthew Burrows, ‘The Seer’ (2012). (Matthew Burrows Studio Instagram pic)

With galleries across the world closing in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak, artists apprehend the devastating impact of the ongoing health crisis on their finances.

While galleries are responding to the global pandemic with online viewing rooms, British artist Matthew Burrows has recently launched the Artist Support Pledge to promote solidarity within the art community.

Launched on Burrows’ Instagram account, the initiative encourages artists to post images of one of their works that is on sale for no more than £200.

Once their sales reach £1,000, they will contribute to the Artist Support Pledge by purchasing another artist’s work for £200.

Burrows launched this solidarity network earlier this week, when he posted a picture of his own “The Seer” etching.

His pledge was completed in a couple of days, with Burrows announcing on his Instagram account that he has since purchased two works by fellow British painter Colden Drystone.

While response to the Artist Support Pledge has been immediate, Burrows hopes to create “a small but dynamic market where all can contribute whatever their level of success.”

“The word ‘artist’ derives from ‘joint maker,’ someone who makes joints and brings together. So in this time of isolation, let’s do what we do best, and bring together in a common effort of generosity,” he explained in a statement.

In addition to the Artist Support Pledge, Burrows recently partnered with Turner Prize winner Keith Tyson to launch the Tyson Award.

Five artists will receive £200 to spend toward completing their own pledges, with the award running for the next five weeks.

The winning artists will be selected and announced weekly by a different guest selector, starting on March 21 with Director of Hastings Contemporary, Elizabeth Gilmore.

Director of Vigo Gallery Toby Clarke, and artist Matthew Collings, are among the future selectors.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, artists and cultural institutions are increasingly turning to social media to promote the role of culture in coping with coronavirus-related anxiety.

While #VisitFromHome is trending on Twitter, freelance museum worker Sacha Coward has recently encouraged art aficionados across the world to post one-minute-long videos about their favorite artwork with the hashtag #MuseumFromHome.