With assistance from the federal government in the form of $600/a week, ending on July 30, many Americans are struggling — especially artists and creative people. Painter Guy Stanley Philoche decided to help his community by spending $65,000 on work from struggling artists.
According to CNN, the 43-year-old painter made it his mission to help his community and sought out artists who needed the money now more than ever. Philoche bought “more than 150 artworks for up to $500 each,” CNN writes.
After he made these purchases, CNN spoke to the generous artist about what it’s like to help out in this time of need. “The art world is my community and I needed to help my community,” he said, “People say New York is dead, but it’s far from that. There’s an artist somewhere writing the next greatest album. There’s a kid right now in his studio painting the next Mona Lisa. There’s probably a dancer right now choreographing the next epic ballet. People forgot about the artists in these industries.”
Because of the pandemic, people’s disposable income has been allocated from purchasing wants to purchasing basic necessities. Unemployment rates have reached an all-time high of 14.7 percent in April of 2020, according to TradingEconomics.com.
One of Philoche’s close friends lost his job right at the start of the pandemic soon after his baby was born. Guy reassured his friends that they will make it through the pandemic together.
“I told him, ‘Don’t worry, we’re New Yorkers. We’ve been through 9/11, the blackout, the market crash, we’ve got this,'” he told his friend, “But he was scared, so I bought a painting from him to help him get through it. It was such a big deal for him at that moment, and that’s when I realized if he’s panicking like this, other artists are too.”
He put the word out through Instagram, asking people who are struggling artists to send him their work. People from around the world sent him a message and the moment he fell in love with a piece, he purchased it and had it sent to his studio.
“So many people have reached out to me, telling me the piece I bought was the first art they ever sold,” he told CNN, “It meant a lot to me. I want to help as many artists as possible, to make sure they are able to buy groceries, or pay their rent, or get their kids diapers or formula.”
Lead image via Guy Stanley Philoche/Instagram.