Artist Donations: Testing the Limits of Your Love

©Andie Freeman, Fragile Heart. Oil on canvas, 8 x 10 inches. Private collection. Used with permission.

All artists are, at some point, asked to donate their work for a good cause. Most artists have soft hearts and want to help out anyone who asks. You need to be prepared with a response that reflects your boundaries while educating those doing the asking.

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The Generosity of Artists

Map of Oklahoma

Artists are amazingly generous with their time and talents. You are among the first to respond to a disaster and to help out those in need. You give full out with our heart. Bravo! Here are a few recent artist philanthropy feats that I’d like to acknowledge.

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Educate Those Who Ask for Donations of Your Art

Fiona Purdy offers a solution to artists who are bombarded with requests for donations. She shares a letter she wrote recently in response to a donation request – a letter that educates the fundraisers.

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6 Limits for Donating Artwork

Kristina Bell DiTullo, Affect/Effect I (detail). Sheer and clear adhesive bandages on clear plastic shower curtain.

You cannot possibly donate to every organization in need, so consider and set your donating limits now to have your response ready when receiving these inquiries.

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Gift certificate wording

Geri Dunn gift certificate

Artist Geri Dunn was stunned when someone purchased a gift certificate of hers at a silent auction and then wanted to either 1) redeem it for cash or 2) commission an original drawing for the amount on the certificate ($150). People really do ask/demand the darndest things!

Let’s look at the situation and start with the gift certificate itself, pictured here.

The small lettering on the bottom row consists of these three components.

The artist’s contact information–phone and email. The certificate number, expiration date (12/31/2010), and the words “Not redeemable for cash.” Having an expiration date is important! And the “not redeemable” phrase proved key when the recipient tried to cash it in. Geri was able to point to this language and quickly put an end to that discussion. The words “No Cash Value” could also be used or added. A place for the authorized

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Letter for responding to donation requests

Alicia Leeke, Exotic Palm. ©The Artist

Post the charities you support on your website and have a letter ready for when you are asked to donate your art. Artist Alicia Leeke shares her standard letter in this post.

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Podcast: Contribute your talents to a good cause

There comes a time when your passion for a cause is so deep that you would regret not using your talents to help out. Listen to the podcast to get ideas on how to contribute your talents to raise money for the cause closest to your heart.

Note: More details became available about the exhibit mentioned in the podcast after this was recorded. Click on STAGES below for an update.

Related

Art Marketing Action newsletter (a written version of this podcast)

I’d Rather Be in the Studio! (my book, pages 219-222)

Donate Your Art Prudently

STAGES (Exhibit mentioned in podcast)

Set boundaries on your donations (blog: Leeds, UK)

Instructions for subscribing to the Art Marketing Action podcast on iTunes.

Contribute your talents to a good cause

Art has found its way into the Tour de France. Depending on your definition of art, it may have always been there (Fans’ costumes! Crop sculptures! Handmade signs and banners!). But now Lance Armstrong, in his first Tour in four years, has teamed up with Nike to enlist the talents of 30 of the world’s foremost contemporary artists for an exhibit entitled STAGES, which opened in Paris last week.

As far as I can tell, the exhibit consists of a few Trek bikes that were decorated by the artists. (Yes, this recalls visions of Cow Parade and its infinite clones–artists working with the surface of an existing form.) Other works were created specifically for the show.

After its Paris debut, STAGES travels to New York, Los Angeles, and Portland. The artists’ works will be sold with proceeds benefiting Armstrong’s foundation to fight cancer. You can’t argue that the

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From the Vault: Donating your art

This is the weekly feature where I group things together for you and highlight the best of the Art Biz Blog, the Art Marketing Action newsletter, and my products. Today, it’s about donating your art.

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Donate your art prudently

They’re coming after you again!

You open the email and darned if it doesn’t look familiar. Once again, you’re asked to donate your art for a worthy cause.

Of course you’d like to help out. You’d love to save the world! But you delivered your art to that environmental group’s auction just last month. And you’ve promised a piece to that hospital raffle next month.

How much art can one artist give?

Leya Evelyn, Why Do We Have Elephants, No. 1. 30 x 30 inches. ©The Artist

Really. How much should you give? There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on your income, your inclinations, your community relations, your productivity, and much more. Only you can decide what the appropriate level of giving is for your current situation. And you should decide. Before you get another request.

You can’t give to every cause. You need to set parameters for your giving.

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