Monday, June 1, 2009

Sculpture and Fundraising / Sculpture Donations

"Will you donate your art? "

It's always for a good cause, but I've found that donating my fine art work doesn't work. There are few things more demoralizing than watching your heart and soul auctioned for a fraction of the time and care you put into it. How do you handle donating your artwork?

I want to be able to support good causes.The solution I've found is be very clear about what I can and cannot give. I contribute to two different causes each year. This allows me to decline other requests in good conscience and ask them to invite me earlier next year.

I design my art specifically for each fundraiser or organization. It's not something I would otherwise make and the result is more meaningful to each organization’s audience. The more appealing it is means it's more likely to sell at a better price.

I use the art making as a design exercise with strict parameters: Make cool sculpture as efficiently as possible without going crazy or overboard. The goal is to donate art, not blood. My motto for this is “Done is better than perfect.”

For the Green Dance Angel for Dance Art Group I began with a $10.00 wooden mannikin. I cut out wings and used tiny brass hinges to attach them to the body. Then i carved the face and the initials of the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation on the chest, added paint and a walnut base. The result?
A kinetic figure for a specific audience of dancers and supporters.

For the Billings Middle School, also in Seattle, I designed and modeled two coin-like medallions of a boy and a girl, for their Greek themed auction. I made plaster molds of the original artwork, then pressed and fired several dozen terra cotta medallions. The advantage of this method is that many people could support the school and leave with unique art for a small price.

For the Village on the Green's Save the Chimney fundraiser I made a bas relief of the patterns that the Vaux Swift's make in the sky. I asked two other artists if they had anything to contribute. One came to my studio, where we had a good working session, enjoying each other’s company as we pressed out the tiles. How often do studio artist share working time? This never would have happened if we each were only doing our own work.

Having clear boundaries for the art I make for fundraisers allows me to participate in worthy causes, create new work, learn new techniques, build my portfolio and enjoy creative time with friends. Contributing my art also gets my name out there, I meet new people and cultivate new audiences for sculpture.

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