Last night was the yearly Celebration for Clemson Visual Art at Clemson University. This event is a fund raising event for the building of a new visual art center. Tom and I have contributed work for this event many times and this year was no exception.
I have heard more than one casual discussion of donating work and read more than one article on this topic. Many artists are opposed to this practice as they feel it degrades the value of their work. Artists are unable to deduct the actual "value" of the work as a gift on their taxes which they feel is unfair and they feel buyers are only looking for a bargain.
The stated negatives may be true but I would like to present a different slant on the topic and share my experience with art donation and criteria for participating.
As to who I donate art, I take my cue from billionaire Warren Buffett who said something to the effect that he has only two rules to govern his success. First you never lose money. Second, you never break rule number one. Therefore my two rules are, I only donate work to organizations with whom I have a personal association. Rule number two is I don't break rule number one. I have been asked to donate to all sorts of things but I have favorites and they are the ones I support. I do not have lots of cash to give but I can make something that will generate money for something that has been a central issue in my life....ART.
Last night my work was purchased by a couple who are deeply involved in art in many ways and who have supported my work for several years. The winning bid was a very fair price and the work has gone to an environment where it will be enjoyed and well cared for. Two years ago they had bid on one of my works which ultimately was won by another couple and this year they were determined to take the prize....MY Work!
The couple who won the auction two year ago were at the event last night as well and they were excited to tell me how my work was being featured in the entrance of their home and how much they had enjoyed having this work. I know for sure that everyone who enters that house sees my work and hears something of how it came to be there. It's all good.
The planners of the CVA Celebration offer artists two ways to handle the income from the auction. Artists can contribute 100% of the winning bid or receive a percentage of the price and contribute the remainder to them. Artists can contribute 1-3 pieces and can choose differently for each piece.
So my thoughts on donating are, choose wisely as to who you donate, don't lowball yourself and if you do give, enjoy your ability to give.
Have a lovely week.
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