MILWAUKEE— A first-time initiative to help artists nationwide recover financially from the pandemic will launch on Nov. 29.

It’s called Artists Sunday, founded by photographer Chris Sherman.

“The key message is shop art on Artists Sunday and shop with your local artists,” he says. “That could be buying online, or if your artist has a studio where they can social distance, they can participate that way.”

Sherman says most of the event will be held online this year, due to COVID-19. Much like Small Business Saturday, he says the idea is to promote the sale of local art, made by artists within the community we live in.

“It’s not just about the sales and purchases, but the recognition that we hope translates into additional sales and purchases down the road,” Sherman says.

Shelley Smith is an oil painter who plans to participate this year. She and her husband are both essential workers, so she says they’ve been lucky in being able to make ends meet.

She says she knows many artists who have not been as fortunate.

“Especially having a family like a lot of them do,” she says. “I know a blacksmith who that’s his only source of income and he has three kids.”

She says the entire arts community is pivoting and re-adapting to this new normal to make ends meet.

“I see people running sales, which some of these artists never did before,” she says. “So, I think everyone is trying to pivot to make this work.”

Artists Sunday also provides a marketing toolkit for artists to learn from and promote themselves year-round, especially online. Shelley says it has been a big help during the pandemic. The kit provides social media tips as well.

According to a survey done by American for the Arts, artists nationwide have lost $13.1 billion due to the pandemic.

Sherman says he plans to have Artists Sunday be a permanent movement, even after the pandemic.

If you’d like to participate as a local artist, click here.