Area artists turn to art councils and committees for help

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – For many local artists, the summer months offer a second stream of income.

Whether is festivals, fairs, or summer concerts, there always a way to make some extra cash.

COVID-19 has put a stop to all that.

With no festivals and no weekend pop-up shops, it’s safe to say local artists are struggling.

Many of them are reaching out to local art councils and committees for help.

Jimmy Criddle is the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Columbus.

When he’s not at the church, he’s working on his art.

Criddle said he’s been selling his work since 2012 and had plans to attend three different art festivals this summer.

“One in Oxford, the double-decker festival, another one in Nashville, the centennial art festival and the Kentuck art festival, and all of those were canceled because of the pandemic,” said Criddle.

According to Criddle, the last few months haven’t been easy.

“Without festivals, you have no way to share your art with the public, and right now those things aren’t happening, so there is no doubt a lot of artists that have been struggling,” said Criddle.

Criddle is one of many area artists who have turned to the Columbus Arts Council for help.

“We are getting a lot of calls from our artists. They are really upset because their summer income is based on festivals,” said Columbus Arts Council Director Jan Miller.

It’s not so much the gallery that everyone wants to be in– it’s the council’s store.

“We provide over 40 artists with ability to show their art and to sell their art here,” said Miller.

Getting people in the door isn’t easy.

“With no one coming up, or less people coming in because they’re afraid to be here, we are taking that to them. So, we’ve worked really hard in our grant process to do some video production,” said Miller. “We are looking at all avenues going virtual. We have to.”

Criddle said now is the time to go out and support your local artists.

“Get on Facebook pages, look at what your local artist are doing, and if you can, support them. Buy a piece. Gift a piece to someone. It makes a tremendous difference,” said Criddle.

Members of the arts council said operating a facility of this magnitude takes money.

For more information on store hours or how to donate, click here.

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