Saturday, June 21, 2008

Donating Artwork

Once you join an art group or become well known in your area as an artist you will be bombarded with requests for artwork donations for charitable causes. The fundraisers know that art can entice donations. However, the artist needs to be cautious or all they will do is paint for charity and not for themselves.

If you paint for a hobby and like this idea, that is cool too. However most working artists need income as well as deductions. And the deduction is not much, an artist can only deduct the cost of the materials used to create the artwork, not the wholesale or retail value. Which sucks. If the artist donates a work that they would normally sell for $100, but the canvas, paints and stuff only cost $20. No matter how many hours they put into creating it, the artist can only deduct $20. If a patron buys the painting for $100 and then donates to the charity, they can deduct the whole $100. Our government's logic - SUCKS. This is one reason artists can be less than willing to donate artwork.

The guidelines that I use for myself are: 1- is it a charity that means something to me? I am more inclined to donate for the cancer society than for the humane society (I am not a pet person). 2- Do I have any small paintings that I wouldn't normally put in a show, something I did as a demo or an experiment or something like that? If so that is an easy donation. 3- how soon after the last donation? I limit myself to a small number each year and if I just gave one away last week its probably not going to happen this week too unless I have something else I wouldn't mind having out of the studio. 4- if I want to clean out my storage area and make room for new stuff I may donate more than one or more or donate more often, depends on my mood.

So for all of the fundraisers out there, don't be too disappointed if an artist declines. You are probably not the first request the artist has had. If you can find a patron to purchase a piece of art and then donate the art themselves, the artist may be more willing to work with you. Creating art is more difficult and time consuming than making a cake for a bake sale. If you show the artist and their work the respect they deserve you may increase the donations you receive.

Painting - Palm Tree, this was a demo I did at the WACG January meeting. I donated it to the silent auction portion of the Tribute to Women to benefit the American Cancer Society. I lost a brother to cancer plus I have had many friends touched by this disease. It is a charity that I support. I will also have 2 paintings in the show. July 8th & 9th. For more info

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