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Putting the Fun in Fundraiser – by Robert Genn

Putting the Fun in Fundraiser
by Robert Genn

The giving season is upon us and once more an artist has an opportunity to contribute to the community. I like to learn about the charities that approach me, how they are run and whether they're cost efficient. Some are more appealing than others--local hospitals, children with special needs and high-school bands are hot for me right now. "Lawyer of the Year" has been put in the warming oven.

Many charities these days offer a split with the artist--sometimes 50/50, often 60/40 in their favour. Others ask for outright gifts. I determine my gifts based on the needs of the community, not on the financial breakdown, potential publicity or tax benefits.

In this country, tax receipts to artists are not worth a hill of partly-chewed jujubes.

It's important to get a little control of the prices of auctioned items. I don't know about your dealers or potential dealers, but mine don't want to hear about people buying my fundraiser art for peanuts.

A reserve price (below which the work must not sell) is generally set at about 2/3 of the current retail price of the work. In the event that your gift does not reach this, then it needs to be returned. Last year one of mine sold for more than twice its gallery value, mainly because my daughter-in-law, Tamara, who happened to be the MC, mentioned that I was not feeling well.

Many time-worn charity art auctions need a shot of vitamins. Fortunately, some charities are coming up with interesting new spins. Masquerades, entertainment, heart-rending testimonials, mystery masterpieces, trips to exotic places, Rottweiler puppies, and surprise raffles keep people from slumping forward in their chairs.

I always include one of my books with my gift. It gives people something to read.

Last Thursday, in aid of Big Brothers, we had an evening in one of my galleries. The place was chock-a-block with expensive art. After a few drinks we had a catered gourmet dinner for 16 with top-notch wines and terrific service. I did a modest demo. Easels were set up and everyone went to work with paint, brushes and fresh canvases. I tried to help out. Chateau d'Yquem (2004) ensured creative audacity. Not surprisingly, stock salesmen and their benefactor-wives can paint. At the top of the current clickback we've put a few photos of the fundraiser fun.

Best regards,


PS: "Life is a gift. It offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back." (Anthony Robbins)

Esoterica: Last week I received a call from a symphony orchestra in another city. They thanked me for the fundraiser gift I had given them the previous year and asked for another for this year. On checking our books we found that we hadn't given anything to that particular orchestra--ever. A little research showed the painting had been donated by someone who picked it up at a prior fundraiser for a hospital in yet another city. Truly a gift that kept on giving.

Robert Genn has given ARTAZINE permission to publish from his twice-weekly newsletter. For more insightful artistic inspiration, please visit his blog at www.painterspost.com

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