Help make Art Supplies shops essential retail

Help make Art Supplies shops essential retail

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Katie Applegarth started this petition to Boris Johnson (Prime Minister) and

Working in the Art and Craft Supplies industry for 15 years, I understand the implications firsthand of not having the access, during this pandemic, to the art community I have grown to love. Lockdown's and Tier 4 have meant non-essential shops must close; this includes our art supplies shops. Each time we reopen I am overwhelmed, sometimes emotionally, by the number of customers who are grateful for our reopening and who have been desperate to come in to buy products to aid their well-being. Most art supplies stores have amazing staff who share their knowledge and inspire so many to take the step into creating art; shops being closed takes this vital step of encouragement away.

It is proven that creating can be an excellent way to help aid anxiety and stress keeping us busy while furloughed or after a long shift as a "Critical worker". It is the same for all ages, getting creative and having a physical piece of art can be an amazing feeling. Working for a small family art supplies business I have been furloughed, so keeping my mind active has been critical in the last year and I miss being in front of the products, chatting with like minded people who help inspire ideas and passion within; I'm not an artist, I just love to create to help my mental state!

So why not buy online? Already delivery services and retailers are overwhelmed with online orders, plus the customer has to wait! If I just need glue to finish a project, I have to endure a delivery charge and delay which adds to my anxiety. I'm not saying online is not good, it's been a lifeline for so many and delivery services have been amazing, I am saying that it would be ideal to have the option to pop out for what I need; it would be essential to my needs much like most items in an off licence, which are classed as essential, should I choose to use those items as a form of stress relief!!

Artists and other paid professionals use our shops for convenience, choice, advice and inspiration. Many times an artist will walk in with a list and leave with a completely different list of products which will go on to aid paying their rent; you cannot get this experience online! These professionals are essential to our economy and cultural heritage with so many new and exciting artists breaking through right now, it's vital they get the support they need, even if it starts with just the convenience of the local art shop being open when needed! 

It doesn't stop there, the sales lost due to the closures have a negative affect financially on so many of our suppliers worldwide. Some are small businesses like the one I work for, they are reliant on us shops being open as some products, like food, have a shelf life. The larger suppliers are as important and although they can adjust easier or swallow the losses it will push product prices up making the industry less viable. 

I have to stress mental health again! Creating art helps so many of all ages. I had one customer who said that our shop and a famous artist on TV had literally saved his life, this is not something we should ignore!

This is not about making money; this is about ensuring that the art supply industry continues to thrive as it has for so many years. Every shop has functioned safely when allowed to do so. All of the shops in my company have followed government guidelines for retail ensuring the safety on both customers and staff. Please consider this plea from a creative, passionate, concerned, furloughed, non-essential retail worker who wants to actually go to work!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!