...serenity in motion

The Art of Donation

I have talked about donating art to auctions before, and anyone will tell you; you will be solicited for donations.  Especially now because the need is so much greater.  I tried to say, give what you can afford to let go of.  “God loves a cheerful giver” (Corintians 9:7), you cannot be cheerful if the cost of your piece is too high.  Big show stoppers that you have will look great, but if it causes you twinges that you can't keep off your face; don't do it.  Pick something reasonable, it is alright; it is better than sending them away empty handed.

               Another thing to consider, is your offering something the association would be comfortable with?  A man in my town collections donations for fundraising activities and he keeps donations from past auctions. Artists will grab something they aren't happy with or are tired of and just hand those off for fund raising. He and I talked about how some donations are just not appropriate.  When you donate, give something that will have general appeal. Not all subject matter or style will fit the occasion or the organization.  Lets say you are donating to The Humane Society, don't give a painting of fox hunting. I find it is easy for me to pick something because I do landscapes.  I have pieces of art from the beginning of my career that are too nice to destroy but too old to hang anymore.  Good pieces that I am proud of, these are the ones I set aside for gifts and donations.

               When I donate them, I look at the solicitor and say, “Just let it go.”  I tell them the value, that always gives the fundraiser a starting point.  I don’t go to watch; I never ask what they got for it, because I don’t find it important.  I don’t ask who bought it, I don’t think I am that highly collected-yet.  Plus, these pieces are no longer the best representation of what I currently offer for sale.  If a person contacts me because they purchased from a fund raising, I gratefully add them to my mailing list. If they liked what they got enough to reach out to me then I will welcome a new fan.  If a past collector calls to say they got lucky, tell them how pleased they were able get it.  Don’t ever lament the price, you don’t want them to feel guilty.  It was a fund raiser after all, and the true retail price is what you get to deduct from your taxes.  Be excited for your client and if they tell you that they will wait until next year now to purchase from you, swallow your pride and be pleased that you supported an organization in your community.

               Ultimately, as an artist; it is important to remember you are part of a community.  If you want support from that community, you need to support it.  Never give your worst but you are not expected to give your absolute best.  No matter who came knocking on your door for the donation.  Support enough so you and they feel good but not so much you end up resenting them.  You want to be able to smile when someone from your community mentions the event.