Milwaukee Art Museum

5 Ways to Help Local Artists Hit Hard by the Pandemic

Looking for ways to support our creative community? We’ve got a few ideas for you!

If you’re reading this, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You’re the kind of person who takes a look around when things get bad, sees all the fear and uncertainty, and decides that – instead of panicking yourself – you’re going to do what you can to help those in need. So, seriously, give yourself a literal pat on the back. And then read on for some ideas of how to help out local artists and other creatives who might be struggling right now. 

1. Donate directly.

Imagine MKE has set up an MKE Artist Relief Fund and hopes to raise at least $50,000, to redistribute in the form of micro grants of up to $500 to local artists. The United Performing Arts Center is collecting donations for many of the city’s performing arts centers. And other nonprofits will gladly accept donations too. 

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2. Become a member or season subscriber.

Local organizations depend on the generosity of their members or subscribers even when the economy is booming. And when it’s not, that income becomes absolutely essential. So if you love art, look into becoming a member of your favorite museum. If you’re a big theater buff, buy a season ticket package from your favorite company. There’s a good chance that you’ll get special perks (like early access to exhibits or shows) in exchange for your support, so this is really a win-win.

3. Buy merch.

Many local artists sell tee-shirts, posters and other merchandise online. So if you’ve been eyeing a particular band tee for a long time but have never felt like braving the crowds at their shows to buy one, know that you can still show them some support from the comfort of your own couch.

4. Take online classes.

Several local arts organizations, like the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, have begun offering online classes to house-bound fans. They’ll give you a reason to put on pants. And they’ll give the organization the funds it needs to keep its lights on. Great news all around!

5. Take advantage of special streaming opportunities or web services.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is offering up a recent recording of Beethoven’s Fifth free of charge. The Milwaukee Art Museum recently unveiled MAM at Home, a web resource that can be accessed anywhere. And many other arts groups are digitizing their content too. Even if you aren’t in a position to donate money right now, you can still show some support by tuning in and reminding them that you care. Posting some encouraging comments on their social media platforms can’t hurt either.



Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.