Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Donating to Benefit Auctions

As an artist, I am constantly asked to donate art to one fundraiser or another.  Despite this, there are very few causes that I will donate to. It's not that I don't think these causes are worthy, I'm sure they are. It's more of an issue of feeling like the "cause" doesn't support the artist who is donating work. Most places want artists to donate a painting without any compensation other than telling us "It's great exposure! Lot's of people will see your work!" but that doesn't really pay the bills. If you're lucky, the "exposure" will amount to a later sale. But more often than not, people will see your work, perhaps even like it and look at your site, but that's about it. Why would they buy a painting for full price when they can wait until the next benefit and buy it for super cheap? The thought of someone who makes a lot more money than me buying my work for super cheap, even if it's for a good cause, while I, who am pretty much poor, makes nothing seems hardly fair.

"Best Friends", 30"x30".
This is my painting that will be part of the live auction this Saturday.
As an artist, I don't have much money. Making art isn't something that is paying the bills just yet. Like most artists, I am struggling to make ends meet by creating art but I am passionate about painting, so I do it despite the sometimes hardship. While I am sure there are other people far off worse than I am, I don't have the luxury to donate my work just for the sake of donating, without any compensation, and as an artist, I am constantly asked to donate work. And by compensation, I don't mean getting paid to donate. That's hardly donating then, I know. The benefits and auctions that I do donate to will usually give the artist anywhere between 25% to 50% of the selling price. It usually covers the cost of materials, and if your work is really popular, you can make some money that may come close to the hours you put into the piece. It's not a lot to ask for AND the cause that you donated to still makes a good amount of money. The artists win. The cause wins. The buyer even wins. These kinds of benefits I like and will always donate to, especially if it's a cause I completely believe in.

Artspan is an organization that I was recently asked to donate a painting to. They are the organization that puts on the city-wide open studios in the Fall and they have many programs, such as Art for City Youth, which provides art education to over 700 under-served youth in San Francisco. As an educator who sees many schools have to cut out their arts programs due to budget cuts, I know the importance of having art education and the effects of not having one. I think their cause is worthy and when they ask you to donate, they support the artists donating by giving them a percentage of the sales. This is my first time donating and I am excited to say that out of 170 donated pieces, I was selected to be part of the live auction! I am nervous but quite honored to be one of the few artists who will be part of this. If you live in the Bay Area, be sure to buy a ticket and check out all of the wonderful paintings this Saturday, March 26th. I'll be the one in the corner chewing on my nails while throwing down shots to calm my nerves...okay, maybe not shots, but you get the idea.

Here's more information on the event:
Bid on more than 170 original artworks by established and emerging artists in live and silent auctions at San Francisco's premier visual art event! Nibble snacks from Thomas John Events catering and sip luscious cocktails from an open bar, featuring Pernod Absinthe Green Beast Punch, while bidding on fabulous, affordable local art!

VIP and General tickets available online:

VIP Ticket (Admits One) - $75 in advance ($50 for members)
VIP Reception (6:00 - 6:45pm) features:
* Exclusive preview of artwork starting at 6pm
* Champagne cocktail reception
*Gourmet hors d’oeuvres by Hibiscus Oakland Executive Chef Sara Kirnon, EOS Restaurant, Swan Oyster Depot, and Taboun Restaurant
* Preferred seating for live auction
* 5% discount on art purchases (up to $50 per purchase)

General Ticket (Admits One) - $25 in advance - $35 at the door
* Open bar and light hors d'oeuvres

* First Silent Auction Section will close at 7:30pm
* Live Auction will begin at 8:15pm
* Creative Cocktail Attire Encouraged

Proceeds from the auction benefit all of ArtSpan’s programs, including Art for City Youth, providing arts education to 700 under-served youth, and San Francisco Open Studios, the city’s largest free visual arts event held each year featuring over 800 artists.

First and Second place awards will be bestowed in the following categories: Representational, Abstract, Figurative, Fine Craft, Sculpture, and Photography. Jurors will also present Juror's Choice awards.

Awards Jury:
Justin Hoover, Curator, SOMArts Cultural Center; Ellen Mahoney, Mahoney Suter Art Advisorys;
Lizanne Suter, Mahoney Suter Art Advisors

Auctioneer: Risley Sams

Thank you to ArtSpan's Donating Artists:

Diane Abt, Zue Acker, Jhina Alvarado, Don Anderson, Jack M. Androvich, Bob Armstrong, Kathryn Arnold, David Avery, Jenny Balisle, Oana Barac-Matei, Suzy Barnard, Richard Bolingbroke, Susan Bostrom-Wong, Johnny Botts, Brandi Brooks, Rena Buchgraber, Brent Bushnell, Lise Carlson, Sofia Carmi, Stacey Carter, Rebecca K. Chang, Lee Cline, Helen Scheuer Cohen, Linda Colnett, Elaine Coombs, Ilana Crispi, Maeve Croghan, Herb Dang, Flora Davis, Nadine Defranoux, Monica Denevan, Robin Denevan, Raymond Difley, Paule Dubois Dupuis, Aximillion Helga Duson, Renee Eaton, Anna Efanova, Bernadette Emrick, miles owen epstein, Jennifer Ewing, Fong Fai, Ana I. Fernandez, Linda J. Fitch, John Fitzsimmons, Kat Flyn, Rebecca Fox, Elizabeth Fracchia, Taiko Fujimura, Annie Galvin, Katie Gilmartin, Kurt Glowienke, John R. Goldie, Mirto Golino, Kristin Grahn Kyono, Sevilla Granger, Florence Gray, Jane Grimm, Jana Grover, Louis J. Gwerder III, dk haas, Marc Ellen Hamel, Mikhail Haramati, Lyall Harris, Jeanne Hauser, Audrey Heller, Monika Henschke, Soña Holman, Anne Howson, Phillip Hua, Hilla Huebert, Cristina Ibarra, Joseph Illick, Uma Rani Iyli, Ivy Jacobsen, Martine Jardel, Randall Jay, Carol Jessen, Philippe Jestin, Doyle G. Johnson, Phylis Johnson-Silk, Soad A. Kader, Marie Kelzer, Christine Kendrick, Mike Kimball, Barbara Kleinhans, andrew knipe, Lisa Knoop, Katherine Hisako Kodama, Rachel Kolenda, Dimitri Kourouniotis, Elana Kundell, Katja Leibenath, Leslie Lowinger, Robert Lowrey, Tatiana Lyskova, Maggie Malloy, Kay Marshall, Alan Mazzetti, Marti McKee, Jody McMillan, Saundra McPherson, John F. Melvin, Erika Meriaux, Andrzej Michael Karwacki, Marcia Middleton,Misho, Gloria Morales, Leslie Morgan, Carrie Nardello, Sonja Navin, Julie Nelson, Zannah Noe, Hadley Northrop, Priscilla Otani, Joel Peirano, Xavier Phelp, Chessa Piker-Ward, Heather Polley, Silvia Poloto, Patricia Preble, Nanci Price Scoular, Kristina Quinones, Shilo Randall Ratner, Lucky Rapp, Gurpran Rau, Judy Reed, Robert Reed, Eric Rewitzer, Fernando Reyes, William Rhodes, Brian Rich, Samuelle Richardson, Carol Rienecker, Heather N. Robinson, Wendy Robushi, Karl Roeseler, Thierry Rosset, Lynn Rubenzer, Tachina Rudman-Young, Lisa Ryers, Ali Saif, William Salit, Sherry L. Schaffer, Jill Schneider, Greta & Manu Schnetzler, Thea Schrack, Brian Schuck, Valerie Scott, Steven M. Scotten, Mercedes Segesvary, Janet Seifert, Mel Solomon, Toru Sugita, Michael-Che Swisher, Elizabeth Tana, Deloris Thomas, Cynthia Tom, Veerakeat TongPaiBoon, Trish Tunney, Susan Tuttle, Charity Vargas, Victoria Veedell, Pep Ventosa, Aaron Vonk, Melissa Wagner, Stephen C. Wagner, Kay Weber, Audrey Welch, Cecilia Welden, Jennifer Wildermuth, Hilary Williams, Laura Williams, Jane R. Willson, Mirang Wonne, Gavin Worth, Roxanne Worthington, Rene Yañez, Rio Yañez, Melissa Yarbrough, Soo-Hwa Yuan


  1. Featuring Pernod Absinthe Green Beast Punch!

  2. Jhina: Well said. I too have decided to limit my donations. I think you chose well. Big CONGRATS on being in the live auction!!!