In Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class, Scott Timberg also emphasizes the role of institutions in supporting creative work. Timberg notes that in the years since the Great Recession, it is not only individual artists or creators who have been affected — people who play supporting roles, like DJs, bookstore clerks, set designers, and editors have also been hit hard.
And institutions don’t just play an incubating role for cultural production — they also provide employment to a broad swath of the population. So when records don’t sell, it’s not only recording artists who suffer. Timberg claims that whether one works as an artist or in a supporting role, “we’re all in this together.”
How can we foster this sense of solidarity, not just among creative workers and those whose labor supports their work, but also in the general public?
An important first step is framing the production of art as work, not as a privilege. Despite the supposed glamor of being an artist, most earn an income that falls near or below the poverty line.
In addition to challenging these perceptions, we need to recapture the idea that art and culture can perform public functions: art educates, art provokes, art transforms, art uplifts, art soothes, art imagines other worlds. The danger of not supporting artist and creative workers is that these functions are left in the hands of elites.