by Kerry Zagarella
Growing up in Florida I wasn’t aware of nature’s patterns. I didn’t think about the dependability of the changing seasons or feel the full tilt of the Equinox and Solstice. Lizards, thunderstorms, and coconuts were our constant throughout the year. I guess it just seemed like, as Janis Joplin put it, “... all the same fucking day man.” Get up, get dressed, go to school, everyday, until one day, you get up, get dressed and go play, until you go back to school…and so on. As a child, I never felt the comfort of reliability, like the consistency of four seasons. And Florida, I’m not coming back.
March, whether it comes in like a lion or a lamb, is a landmark month of seasonal changes. March is full of hope, stay with me…March can be full of hope and renewal. The miraculous rebirth that spring brings has been sleeping, growing, and living under our feet. Under the snow and frozen ground our spring awaits, and it will come regardless of our actions, because it is one of nature’s cycles that we rely on and learn from. The eruption of soft yellow daffodil petals from the winter tundra reminds us of our own unseen buried potential. We all have an untapped power to bring more beauty, art and expression into the world. Art being an umbrella term for a wide variety of creative output.
We have our own gentle and persistent tapping against the darkness allowing light and life to melt through the crusty cover of winter. Like the hand that brushes the cold snow off the fledgling daffodil to see it rise, our hand, our fingers to be exact, can tap away on our keyboards and give support to self expression, to rebirth. Let this spring be our awakening to collective action that supports the creation of art. And guess what, it is easy!
Social Media platforms can be used for good. It is not just a place to bicker and divide. The universal connection of the internet has broadened the exposure and distribution of self expression. Artists of all modalities use the internet to share and promote their work, process, and products online at no monetary cost to the viewer. We can support them in monumental ways with a few clicks on a keyboard… tap tap tap against the darkness. In my family of four, we use the internet to share our work. My husband and I run a small press, and our sons are both self-employed. Henry a musician, and Gus a videographer, both of their livelihoods depend on an increasing number of clicks, likes, dislikes, followers, subscribers, and Patreon supporters on their social media platforms. Of course their livelihoods and success depends on their fulfilled passion, but money helps pay the rent! Certainly, I repost and share their work wildly and widely to encourage folks to do the same, and they are talented (mom moment and it’s true). But I also support many others, even strangers. We have opportunities to contribute to any self-employed artist's success without any responsibility on our part. Let's utilize this hidden power to support artists of all kinds. Bring them out of the darkness with some clicking support and a gentle hand to bolster those young seedlings against the elements. Spring forward!
There are many levels of support that you can give an artist that will help them grow a presence on the internet, which increases their exposure, legitimacy, and potential revenue. At no cost or responsibility to you! You can “follow” groups on social media, you can subscribe to any YouTube channel for free. Simply watching videos on YouTube can help an artist document increasing views which brings them more revenue.
The “one click” philanthropic action is simple. I subscribe to several YouTube channels, some are exercise themed, others may be DIY projects, pure entertainment or a million other topics! My subscription, my “one click” investment, requires nothing else of me. I do not have to fill out forms, or give information away (they already have it all anyway). I get no emails asking for more support, no notifications of when new content is available, essentially I never have to hear from a atrist again, I can support and go. The same goes for other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok. They create/post and you “follow”. They create and you “like”. Perhaps you create too!
Reposting an artist’s work is another free way to support more art. Then of course there are levels of support that do ask for a cash donation. Patreon and Substack are examples of internet platforms that accept monetary support for an artist. Often Patreon backers have access to additional behind the scenes content made available only to their level of sponsorship. My son Gus’ Patreon account invites sponsors to join with a minimum donation of $1 a month, though many patrons pay more than that. His exclusive content this month is a hilarious tag team (with Charlie Porritt) review of the cult classic, Barbarella. You’ll have to pay $1 monthly to access that gem (there is also a review of a deep cut cult classic, Children Shouldn’t play with Dead things, a movie filmed in one of my childhood homes). The Patreon payment options vary as much as the artists! Some artists provide different patron levels that access additional material as the donation increases.
Listening to your favorite band’s music streaming online helps them in minimal monetary payments, but benefits them with an increased audience pool! While you're there, listen to The Far Out’s new release, A Long Time Coming (this mom won't stop with shameless promotions-#keyboardpower)!
Think of this clicking altruism like a people-powered New Deal, with “relief, recovery and reform” at the core. Supporting creativity online provides a relief from the mundane, a recovery of our essence and a reformation of the way we can share this earthly experience. We support art because it makes our society better. Expression broadens our understanding of each other.
As you travel through reels or scroll around, stop and respond to things you like. There are so many choices and all can help an artist create more art. You can respond to things you don’t like too, but every response is recorded as a “hit” and bolsters the post. So spread your joy and ignore the rest!
And why not join the movement of online translators? Examine our shared experiences and create work for our contemplation; for our joy! The process of taking things apart and putting them back together in a novel way creates a mutual perspective; a window of awareness. We all strive to be understood and to understand. As we hear the rumblings of spring, let's give space to our own inner murmurings as well. What creative endeavor is transforming in your personal chrysalis? Can we see it?