So many times when we hear the phrase "support your local...." we think of monetary support and that support being a one way transaction. Yes, money is a wonderful and greatly appreciated way to support musicians and artists but not the only way. I am not suggesting that you ask artists to do their work for "Exposure" as I hear you can die from exposure.
Go to Events!
This seems like a no brainer. Musicians get the money from concerts but they also get the statistics! Funding agencies and supporters like to see that the musician has well attended and successful concerts. Not only are you supporting the musician today but helping them in the future. If money is tight there are ways you can snag some free tickets and I'll get into that a little later. I know I know, you just got home and put on your pajamas and would like to just stay home, you'll catch the next one. I promise you will get more out of a live performance than you can get from a recording.
Help spread the word of the activities of musicians. Share their concerts online, in the break room at work and with your friends. Make a point to bring friends and family to events. Offer to take a poster or two for an upcoming concert. You spreading the word carries a lot of weight with your friends.
Here's where you can easily score free tickets to events, just by giving a little time. Offer to take posters to a section of the city to promote an upcoming concert. Take tickets/usher at the event, many events need people to help take money, help people to their seats and hand out programs. If you are interested in lessons you can also trade your service for theirs, just remember that they are professionals at what they do and try to trade something of equal value.
If you are part of a church or organization with an appropriate venue offer to host an event. You might even be able to have a House Party. You can invite the musicians to perform in your home. $10 at the door or tickets online is a great way to have your friends catch up in a very unique experience.
If you are an artist yourself see if there is a way you can pool your resources. More often than not artists are excited to collaborate. You both benefit from this experience by gaining a new audience. If you are a teacher or part of a community organization you can apply to have an artist in residence! Amazing right? Check out the links for the Saskatchewan Arts Board Grants for Artists in Schools and Artists in Communities. Check into your Arts Board and see if there is a similar program for your area.
Don't like any of these options? Talk to your artist, find out what they would like or how you can help. Talking to your local, provincial and national government about how much you value the arts goes a long way. Tell your arts board what you value. Tell your friends and family what you value. Tell your artist that you value the work they do.
If I've missed anything or if you have something to add please post in the comments.