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So, You've Been Asked to Donate Your Artwork...
As an arts organization whose mission, in part, is to advocate for artists, and raise the community's awareness of the value they bring to a community, we need to let people know about a dilemma artists face. Artists are often asked to donate their time and talents to various initiatives. Although flattering, it is often hard for artists to say "no" to these requests. Part of our job is to step in when requests like this are made (and they are made frequently!). Although we cringe at the phrase "Starving Artist", it is no secret that artists face many challenges while trying to support themselves. (Think of them, rather, as the ultimate non- profit!)
When a patron purchases a piece of artwork at a fundraising event, they can claim the entire purchase price as a charitable deduction.
However, when you, as an artist donates a piece of artwork, you cannot claim the retail price of it as charitable contribution. An artist can only claim the cost of the materials, which normally is a fraction of the price of the finished artwork.
A piece of art is different than say a vacation, or a spa visit, or donation of that kind. Artwork has an intrinsic value, especially portraits, a deeper value than say a golf package.
We are also artists here at the Arts Council and have donated. However, we have come to realize that many of the people that attend these events expect to get a “deal,” to be able to purchase artwork at less than market value. This devalues the artwork and it is extremely unfair to any clients who have paid full price for the work.
We are not suggesting that artists never be asked to help in a charity event. Sometimes donating work is the only way artists can afford to support non-profits. Perhaps a better approach is to suggest that the organization share in the proceeds of an event. 50% to the artist & 50% to the organization.
Here are guidelines that enable artists to donate artwork at less than retail cost. These requirements also help us reduce losses since current U.S. tax laws are unfavorable to artist donations.
Please consider that by offering these terms for all artist donations, your organization will: Attract top quality, high value artwork; and over time, will become known as the go-to-organization for unique and valuable art.
Calls to Artists:
2018 Art on the Island
Deadline: September 5
Urban Hay Day Poster Contest
Deadline: September 22
Artisan Holiday Market at the Arts Council
Deadline: November 1