The win/win/win of Artists’ Philanthropy


Most artists work hard for every dollar they earn.  If they sell at gallery shops or offer work online, they create many pieces of which only some will actually be sold; and how many pieces will eventually sell is an unknown financial outcome.  If they do commissioned work, they spend extra time in the back-and-forth with customers and in trying to read each customer’s mind.  Many artists live simply as a trade-off for having time and freedom to create, and embrace this trade-off mindfully.



I want to encourage fellow artists to find ways to become philanthropists: offer some work to support organizations that do good in the world.   There are so many groups that hold silent auction fundraisers, and the auction items can be “things” or can be experiential.   By participating, the artist gains exposure — often connecting with folks who are attracted to philanthropy and support of the arts; the attendees have the opportunity to see art work close up and to purchase art work at excellent prices; and the organizations benefit from additional support.


Even a small item that represents the best of your work and that may not be expensive might allow an attendee to place a successful bid.  Your actions speak for you: your philanthropy communicates your interest and gives your work greater resonance.  Locally, some of the organizations to which I’ve donated work or a portion of sales from my work include public broadcasting, Clearwater Conservancy, PASA (for sustainable agriculture),  an animal shelter, Women’s Resource Centre, Choral Society, various religious organizations, Global Connections (promoting international friendship), museums, For the Love of Fiber…  It feels so good to help these groups, it adds purpose to the hours I spend in the studio.


When you work, you might set aside a few pieces so that if you’re asked to contribute, you’ll have something on hand; some organizations do not give artists much advance notice, while others ask far in advance of the events.  You may not have the money to give, but you can participate through your creativity!



Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I agree on donating items to good causes for silent auctions or to display it there facility. Oral Hull foundation for the blind in Sandy Oregon is where I have donated my first piece a wall hanging so that people with vision impairment can feel the texture and see the design of my Floral wall hanging. And the joy that it gives me to give and to share art with vision impaired people or blind people is out of this world awesome.

    • What a beautiful way to share your work! It’s nice to think about how your efforts nurture the folks at Oral Hull Foundation, and how this ripples out to affect the people around each of those folks, too. It feels good to share our gifts in this way, doesn’t it! Thank you for your comment, Bonnie.

  2. I am not Very good at this email thing. but I agree with you what you wrote. On giving your artwork to A good cause. I gave a wall hanging to oral Hull foundation for the Blind In Sandy Oregon. not only did this bless myself but the people who are vision impaired can look at artwork in a different way by feeling the design and if they can see some color the brightness at which I made the flower pattern. it gives you a greater appreciation of other people’s abilities . blessings to you. 😍 bonnie brown

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