“Spilling Over,” 30″ x 20″, Mixed Media on Deep Wood Panel
Artists are asked several times a year to donate a piece of art to charity. There are different opinions about whether an artist should or should not donate. I believe generosity is particularly important in today’s climate.
But if you are an artist, there are a few things to keep in mind before you decide.
Be Sure You Know the Charity
If the charity is not one you know, use your computer and find more information, their rating—or better yet talk to a friend. You want the charity to be reputable since you will donate a piece you love. The artwork can certainly be a few years older than the work you display in exhibits, but be certain it is among your best pieces and in your current style.
Ask How Your Work Will Be Displayed
Will this be a private event, an online auction, or a gala? Will it be in a conference room or a gallery? Will you be allowed to attend and meet the potential buyers? Again, a piece that is good quality will get the attention of more donors.
Don’t Expect A Large Tax Deduction
The person who buys your artwork gets the large deduction. An artist can only deduct the cost of materials, according to the Center for Art Law, because the IRS considers the art a “self created asset.”
However, there are other benefits: increased exposure, the ability to experiment, and new connections. Artwork Archive featured artist Anne-Marie Zanetti who basically created her career by donating to charity. According to Zanetti, the ability to experiment without pressure allowed her to develop her skills and make contacts.
You can’t deny that artists thrive on exposure. It is how we get noticed by collectors and galleries. Agora Gallery’s advice blog stressed that if there are good opportunities to connect with collectors, galleries, and other artists, then the donation becomes a “win-win.” I would add that wisest charities understand this and make certain it happens.
Did I forget feedback? Sometimes you will get praise directly from individuals and buyers, but it always helps to keep your eyes and ears open. Is there a crowd around your artwork and much whispering? Is the press asking you to pose in front? Still, all feedback should be considered carefully.
Let Your Heart Guide You
Certainly, be pragmatic because art is a business—and a passion. But there are times to lean toward the heart. As I said earlier, choose an artwork that’s really good, one that you love. Donate that piece. You can never go wrong.