Friday, June 09, 2006

Here is the latest thing I have been working on with artists in the Oklahoma area. I don't know what it is like in the art world at large but around here we are asked to donate to a lot of fundraisers where there is no split with the artists. We have been banning together and agreeing to ask for a portion of the sales. Here is a copy of the letter we drafted several years ago. It was recently adopted by the Tulsa branch of Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition.

As artists we are asked many times through out the year to donate our work to various charities for use in fund raising. We love to be able to help our community in this way.

We would like to provide a way in which your charity will be able to make a greater profit using our artwork. We respectfully request that charities share a portion of the profits with the artist. In this way you will benefit in retaining a higher quality of work from the artist, which will bring a higher price at your auction or event. Keep in mind that our canvas and framing often takes up 25-30% of the cost of our painting. We would hope that you would choose to give back to the artist at least 40-60% of your sale.

When artists are asked to donate without a share of the profit it really puts us in a bind. Those of us who are struggling to make a living at this can’t afford to give away the piece that we can sell in a gallery but we also can’t afford to put pieces that aren’t quite gallery quality out in public. You also may not be aware that artists are unable to claim the value of their donation on their income taxes. We are only able to claim the cost of supplies used.

When charities split the profits with the artist every one wins. The artist is able to keep only their best work in circulation, benefactors get a quality piece of art, the charity makes a greater profit and may be able to get more than one piece from the artist.

It is for these reasons that members of Oklahoma Visual Artists Coalition will willingly donate to organizations that adopt these practices and we will also respectfully decline all offers where there is no split with the artist.

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