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27 September 2012

A word (or two) about donations...

I considered not writing this, but I think it needs to be said.

Artists are often solicited to donate their art to fundraisers by various organizations, and although there is a reward in the simple act of giving alone, there may be reasons why it's not always a good idea.

I heard a presentation by an organization recently, and decided to donate to their annual charity art auction. I chose to donate a "good" piece; a spider painting that had been featured on the postcard advertising one of my recent shows. I figured that folks who saw the piece at the auction, if they later ran across my work at a future show, would recognize the work as mine, even if they didn't remember my name.

I've donated to a few art auctions over the years, and I've usually found them to be a positive experience. First, my work is "out there" in front of the folks attending the auction (who might be a completely different audience than the folks who come to one of my shows); the auction determines what someone is willing to pay for the work, helping me to establish (as much as possible) it's "true value"); and I get another name for my mailing list--someone who already owns one of my paintings!

This particular auction, though, chose not to provide donating artists with the contact information for the folks who bought our work. Although I received the donation form, for tax purposes, showing that I donated a painting, having a way to contact another person who liked my work well enough to pay for it, is really important to me.

One local organization actually provides each donating artist a complete contact list for everyone who makes a purchase at their annual art auction. The name(s) of those who bought work from the artist receiving the specific list, is circled.

Although I don't regret the decision to donate work to this particular auction, I think that--given the fact that there are always more organizations looking for donations than I have work available to donate, I will not be donating to this particular auction, again.

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