Artists are often asked to donate work for charitable causes, and there are many different opinions (here and here) on how and why we should or shouldn’t. I have a policy of only donating art once or twice per year, and I try to vary the organizations that I support. My husband and I support several charities with personal donations, and my small art business cannot support more than one or two donations per year. I often try to work with my gallery representative, Mary Lou Zeek, to make sure that I am not harming the market for my work.
This year, I was honored to be asked to be featured artist for the “Uncorked” wine auction benefitting Family Building Blocks. Here are my top five reasons for choosing to donate to this particular charity:
- Their mission of preventing child abuse and neglect is important to me, and their success rate is over 99%.
- The event promised to showcase my work to an audience that I wanted to reach, and featured me as the only artist in the oral auction.
- I love wine, and was excited to attend the event!
- Because I believe in the mission of the group, I felt eager to invite friends to join me.
- The auction committee approached me in person, with deference and professionalism.
After attending the event, I can only say that if you are approached by this group you should definitely accept! The event was designed to provide an evening where guests felt celebrated and created an atmosphere of joy in sharing the good work that Family Building Blocks does. The food and wine were delicious, and everyone was caught up in the excitement of raising money for this excellent organization. And my work ended up selling for almost three times its retail value! Maybe I should raise my prices!?
A former parent in the FBB program states in the warm acknowledgement that I received:
It is hard to put my appreciation for your support into words. I’m not sure how often in life we have an opportunity to do something where we KNOW that we are making a difference. Family Building Blocks opens up the possibility to each of us.”
It was a wonderful feeling to help make a difference by enabling this group to serve over 350 children and their parents. Together we raised over $450,000 that night. Below are a couple of photos from the ‘Red Carpet’ taken as we arrived at the auction. Thanks to our friends for joining us at our table and bidding generously!
Wonderful, Ruth! I think you have the right idea to limit the number of painting donations you make per year—goodness knows, we artists get asked to donate art by a lot of organizations. This sounds like a worthwhile cause–congrats on getting a great bid on your art and helping this organization!
I like your painting and the way it looks on the Uncorked Catalog. Thanks for making a difference by donating your art and for posting fabulous photos of
you, Marc and Erin.
Thank you Linda 🙂
Ruth, great article on the pros and cons of donating art for fund-raisting purposes. I get asked all the time (just last week in fact) and I’ve needed to limit how often I donate. Your analysis of why you chose Family Building Blocks was well thought out and articulated. I’ve become more selective over the years, but what you’ve written and how you approach donations is really helpful. Thanks!
You’re welcome, Dayna. I always feel somewhat flattered that the organization wants my work. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have money left to buy supplies if I gave to every organization that asks!
Ruth, this looks like a wonderful event and what a good organization to support!
It truly was a great event, Margaret!
Thanks for encouraging donations of art and for giving good guidelines for how to choose good venues where the art is appreciated and respected.