Matthew Burrows, from East Sussex, set up the ‘Artist Support Pledge’ in response to the pandemic, encouraging artists to share images of their work on social media, valued at £200, and for every £1,000 in sales they receive, pledging to spend £200 on another person’s work.
Matthew’s initiative has evolved into a global microeconomy and sustainable model, based on trust and generosity, that is estimated to have generated over £60 million in sales. Matthew has now developed the concept into a not-for-profit company to continue bringing artists and craft makers together and offer longer-term support.
In a personal letter to Matthew, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I want to thank you for the monumental impact of the global movement you have created to connect artists and forge a culture of reciprocity.
“The ingenuity of your ‘Artist Support Pledge’ has brought communities together through the power of art, providing artists and craft makers with a way to share their work on social media and sustain one another through this battle with Coronavirus.
“Your initiative exemplifies the spirit of generosity and creative talent that lies at the heart of all that is finest about our nation.”
Matthew said: “I am delighted and humbled by the news of this honour. From modest beginnings and fuelled by the kindness of so many – artists, makers, their buyers and supporters, ‘Artist Support Pledge’ (ASP) has thrived.
“ASP is a movement of connected communities, who operate in a context of trust and a generous spirit of solidarity. At this time of great uncertainty, ASP shows that we have a meaningful opportunity to facilitate change to a more equitable and sustainable society. ASP demonstrates that creative communities can play an active part in the formation of this, using the power of generosity to transform lives.”