19 Ways to Be Part of the Arts on #GivingTuesday

In celebration of #GivingTuesday, a roundup of ideas to support the arts in creative ways

Visitors at the Sketching Gallery at the Getty Center

One good way to support art: make some!

#GivingTuesdayDecember 3 marks the second annual #GivingTuesday, started last year by the United Nations Foundation and the 92d Street Y to celebrate the spirit of generosity by balancing days of giving thanks and getting deals with one for giving back.

If the arts feed your spirit throughout the year, how can you support them on #GivingTuesday? We put our heads together and pooled 19 simple ideas to be an arts philanthropist.


With Your Time

  • Volunteer to hang student artwork at a local school.
  • Visit a museum, gallery, performance, or festival (and share your experience).
  • Lend your unique skills to a local museum, school, or arts organization.

With Creativity

  • Enroll in a dance, theater, music, or art class (and you’ll support an art teacher, too).
  • Draw something and send it to somebody you care about.
  • Craft something fun, creative, and uniquely you.
  • Use the art of the past for inspiration—make a sketch, poem, collage or digital mashup.
La Santa Cecilia at Saturdays Off the 405 at the Getty Center

Going to a concert? Yep, that’s supporting the arts. (La Santa Cecilia at Saturdays Off the 405)

With a Small (But Meaningful) Purchase

  • Buy an artwork from a local artist, artisan, or student.
  • Donate food or beverages to an art gallery for an opening.
  • Give art supplies to a local classroom.
  • Become a member of a museum.
  • Subscribe to an art journal or buy an art book.

With Your Voice

  • Write a letter to your local school board voicing your support for funding for the arts.
  • Tell Congress you support the arts and arts education.
  • Say why #ArtMatters to you.

With Dialogue

  • Join a gallery crawl, museum tour, artist’s talk, or art meetup.
  • Leave a comment on an artist’s website explaining what you like about his or her work.
  • Follow a local arts organization on social media—Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram—and subscribe to their blogs.

What ideas have we missed for giving to (and receiving from) the arts? Let us know!

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  1. Amy Hood
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    At this time of year I often buy gift memberships to non-profit art spaces and/or subscribe to an independent press on behalf of a friend. It’s a great way give someone a unique gift (that doesn’t cause clutter!) and to give a little something extra to the organizations that I already support.

    • Posted November 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Love that! It’s so thoughtful to give a gift that can keep bringing inspiration and happiness throughout the year. Great suggestion.

    • Annelisa
      Posted November 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Amy, I love your point that gifts of experiences don’t cause clutter. Another gift of art experience is to take a friend to an event, such as at a maker space or a hands-on event at a museum. It can be magical to see someone who thinks they’re “not creative” realize that they are.

      I sometimes buy artworks as gifts, looking for something that speaks to the gift recipient’s personality. While technically this is still shopping (busted!) it’s also supporting artists and artisans who put real love and care into their work.

  2. Maureen McGlynn
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy taking my nieces and nephews to performing arts venues around the holidays rather than just buying them more ‘stuff.’ The experience lasts so much longer and instills in them a lifelong interest in the arts. Last year it was a San Francisco Ballet performance of the Nutcracker for a niece who is away at college in SF. This year, my 5-year-old niece will see her first play, White, at the new Annenberg Performing Arts Center. We’ll do an art project together after the play as a way to commemorate our theatrical adventure!

  3. Ron Hartwig
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I like to support Museum stores to buy gifts for holiday giving and I always get my Christmas cards from a Museum store. The images are from the Museums’ collections, the quality is terrific and I’m helping to support the arts.

  4. Kim
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I love to share Laurence Anholt’s artist’s book series with the younger kids in the family. He tells the story of great artists’ throughout history, from a child’s point of view, with the child telling the story. Anholt has done exhaustive research into these stories, and the children that interact with the artist are real. My niece’s favorite is “The Magical Garden of Claude Monet.” These stories make art more accessible for kids, and begins their relationship with art early on, with a personal connection.

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.

      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”


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