The NEMAA blog is a platform for us to share our members work and their stories, and a hub for information about the NEMAA community.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The value of giving to a worthy cause

Art-A-Whirl 2013 Silent Auction, photo courtesy Jeanne Oss
When should artists donate their work? Board President Carmen Gutierrez-Bolger weighs in on times she has donated her work, and the value of supporting non-profits such as NEMAA through donations: 

Ask any artist if they will donate a work of art for your non-profit’s silent or live auction and you will probably get a hesitant response. I have three email requests to donate my work right now. In fact, some very nice people knocked on my studio door last week and asked me to donate work. “You will have the opportunity to come to the event and be recognized as an artist/donor.” The work that this non-profit does is truly remarkable and I feel that they are worthy of a donation, but I have to decide which organizations I can afford to help. 

While talking with these folks I felt compelled to tell them that we artists are constantly asked to donate our work. At some point we have to say no. I explained that giving our work away could devalue our work. Sometimes we give it for free only to have them, auction it off for much less than its value and we don’t get the recognition they promised. We can’t even deduct its value from our taxes – only the materials we used.

So, why is there value in donating our work to the NEMAA Silent Auction? First, NEMAA is our artists’ support organization – all of the proceeds go directly to NEMAA and our mission. Secondly, artist members are able to donate 50% or 100% of the sale price of each piece of art. That gives us some control over the amount we donate. Thirdly, the buyer is provided the artist’s name, studio location and contact information. The NEMAA Silent Auction gives Art-A-Whirl visitors a way to preview and to buy some of the work being shown during our Open Studio event, and to contribute to our Association.

In the end, I donate to the organizations that I believe in. I give my art away in the hopes that the donation will help the non-profits to support individuals and/or families to have a better life.

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