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Donating Your Work to Charity

November 2, 2010

Isn’t it marvelous that people donate their time and energy to great causes?   We as artists are often called upon to be contributors to events that make a difference in many, many people’s lives.  I do believe that artists are in a great position to be contributors to the greater good.

Philanthropic commitments do not come easily.  I remember when I first started giving paintings to the benefit of hospitals, fundraisers for cancer, the arts and kids, I would agonize over which painting to ‘let go of’.  As much as I viewed this as an opportunity for exposure for my work, I was also wanting to give a piece that would make the charity as much money as possible.  Each artist has to work through the fact that they are receiving no monetary compensation for this work and in fact this piece has not only cost them materials but most often the framing costs as well.  However, it does not take long to come to the conclusion that this is a way to contribute to a good cause and possibly bring  joy into someone’s life to boot.

There was a time when I did not think that my work was worthy of a ‘silent auction’.  After overcoming those insecurities I decided that whatever the charity got for the painting would be more than they would have without it.  I find that donating a work of art is a way to give when circumstances preclude one from giving cash….it is a way to contribute that doesn’t cost much more than your time.

Now when I give I try to give with an open heart.  I try to match the painting with whatever cause I am giving to, so that the charity has the best chance to increase their coffers.  It has become quite a bit of fun trying to ‘read’ the crowd.  Will there be more men there than women?  Will the men be most likely to bid on this piece or will the women?  Have I hit the right demographic?  I never hear of the outcome of the donations….whether they made a lot of money or a little.  Did a lot of people bid on it or not that many?  Sometimes that bothers me as I would love to know if I had made a good choice, ha.

This is what I have decided.  Someone asks you for a contribution…you put your best foot forward and give what you can and release it.  The rest will take care of itself.  I encourage all of you to give of your heart and your art, even as beginners.  You never know where it will lead.

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