You can help support local arts organizations such as the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin and local artists during these trying times in a variety of ways.

Many businesses and organizations have been forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the safer-at-home order that has been issued. This type of shutdown hurts all businesses and organizations, but it is especially hard on artists and arts organizations.

Artists and arts organizations rely on people to come to events such as festivals, gallery openings and receptions, shows and even classes and workshops to survive. This current situation has affected not only large, national organizations across the country, but local small organizations such as the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin, Winthrop Arts in Riverview and Center Place in Brandon.

Arts and cultural organizations are great at adapting to all kinds of situations. Many are used to operating off razor-thin margins and regularly deal with weather and dips in the economy. However, many of these situations are often temporary and do not last as long as the current situation is expected to last.

There are things that the community can do, even while staying safe at home, to support their local organizations. So, how can you help? The Arts Council of Hillsborough County has offered some suggestions.

You can make a donation to your favorite arts organization. Also, for those hosting virtual classes such as Winthrop Arts, it helps them pay the instructors when they cannot get volunteers.

If they offer memberships, subscribe to them. The Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin offers memberships and it is a great way to see live entertainment and other events.

You can purchase items such as hats, T-shirts or even mugs from the organization. This will even help you to remember to visit them again.

With respect to artists, many have websites or Facebook pages where they post their work. If you see something you like, offer to purchase it or share their work. Someone else might see it and offer to purchase it.

For more information on how you can help, please visit tampaarts.org.