Monday, June 28, 2010

Weigh In on Donations

I read the email and rolled my eyes. And sighed. Yet another request from yet another worthy cause asking for a donation of art. (Why everyone thinks that artists can afford to donate their work is a topic for another blog.)

I almost hit the delete button. After all, I have donated paintings to six organizations already this year. I have already committed to two more. But then I thought, wait a minute… I have dozens of old prints stacked in my studio… I could donate them. And what about all those older paintings and studies lining the walls of my studio… couldn’t I donate them as well?

But then, as often happens with us Libra-types, I started thinking. If one of the reasons to donate my work to non-profits is exposure, shouldn’t I only donate my best work? Some of my older work is, well, okay – but not at the level of the work I’m producing now. So it is kind of embarrassing for me to present it. I have this weird desire to write a disclaimer, “This was my best work in 2003. Check my website for new works.” Or something like that. Which is great for the person who gets the painting or print. But what about the other people who walk by, see the work, think, OK, but a little amateurish. Then they associate my name with work that is not my best now, in 2010.

Am I crazy? That’s a hypothetical question, no need to answer! But you see the dilemma. Where do you weigh in on donations? Do you donate work at all? If so, do you always donate your best work or donate older works, or donate prints or a combination of all three? Or do you have another idea?

Weigh in with your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you!

by Kate Dardine


Juan said...

Hi Kate,
Well, I donate as well and I too find it hard to refuse. My philosophy is, it is work I have done and I create because I enjoy creating and if it can help an organization, great! It has nothing to do with me.

I have three truisms (for me): 1. Do your art because you enjoy it and love it. 2. Don't judge it, and 3. Other peoples opinions don't count.

Once I had a piece I totally disliked (point #2) and wasn't even going to show it. It sold before I knew it. I have another piece that I thought was my best work.... I still have it.

So, if I had a chance to bid on a practice piece that Vincent Van Gogh did, would I want to?

Just my thoughts, no more no less

Michael Stipek said...


Since the people who go to the art auctions/donations are usually ones looking for good art at a cheap price, the chance of them showing up afterward at your studio looking for full price work is practically nil. I donate older work that no longer sells or is too different from my current work. In this way, the organization receiving the art gets some money and I get a feeling of giving to a needed cause with little cost to myself.


This dilemna is one I use to have
every time I want to organize an open studio weekend or any what else.
Like you ,I feel my present artworks are better than the older one .
sometimes I think to give them for a donation too.Then I think like you do,if a god collector see these artworks ,what about my artist reputation?Sorry but haven t got the answer.Patricia

YellowBird Studio said...

We have entered the "Free Society." Give 'em your best!

Karen Williamson said...

I donate art to a number of community organizations. I view it as a chance to contribute to the community and (secondarily) as an advertising opportunity.

I donate work that may no longer sell well at shows, but I still have in stock. I have learned over the years that although my work may change, it's what individual collectors like that matters. I may prefer my newer work, but many people often love my earlier pieces and are thrilled to win or purchase them at a charity auction. Sometimes the buyer saves a little money, and the charity benefits, so everyone is happy.

I don't donate seconds, however. The frame may be one I'm discontinuing, but it will be first quality. I view anyone who might win or purchase my work from a charity as a potential customer, and I want them to have a well-presented, clean piece so they see how I do business.

smart mama said...

when i donate a piece to an event i have also included a look book of works in portfolio. I like to support alot of causes and i do think its a good way to move out pieces and help.