Art for Charity
Art for charity is a concept where an artwork is created to be donated for a cause. There is also a concept where a work of art is exhibited or showcased and all the tickets sales or proceeds go to the chosen charity.
Historically speaking Art for Charity is still at a very nascent stage of its life cycle with its roots in the early 20th century. A concept born or designed as a way for the artistic community to give back to the society.
Significance of Art for Charity
Everyone who is a part of the society has stood to gain from it at some point of time in one way or another. It is imperative and prudent for those who have had the fortune of receiving plenty to give back in their own way. The artistic community and products from this community have a naturally wide reach and range. Art for Charity paves the way for this particular community to not only give back in terms of money but also ideas and themes on issues that need awareness and sensitivity.
Challenges for artists
There is nobility to charity and a great sense of satisfaction that comes from donating for the benefit of numerous others who are less fortunate. However, the artists do not always take much away from these events. The artists get requests from the charitable foundations or other institutions for charities for donations, for which there isn’t a tax deduction (except on the supplies and materials). The buyers may buy the work of art for a lesser marked price and bask in the gallery of being a benevolent donor, the foundation gets a handsome fund but the artist sadly loses out financially and does not really get a mention in the benevolent glory that should have reflected on them.
Apart from this, if the buyer or the collector decides to sell the work later at a much higher marked price, neither the artist nor the charity get any shares in the profit. There have been instances when the artists create works of art that were meant to create awareness and to be auctioned. However, the works ended up in the private collections with hardly any proceeds going to the cause. The artists sadly have no control on these issues.
This is where it all begins, with a request to an artist for donations. The requests may come in the form of donation of an existing work of art or a specially commissioned piece where the artist works on a special piece to raise awareness about the cause or simply creates a dedication to the cause. There is a good number of artists who have come up through non-profits and take these opportunities to give back to where they got it all from.
Similarly when galleries conduct events for charity and hold either auctions or exhibitions as benefits, it is those artists who were associated with the galleries in their starting out phase that are called upon.
A collector or a buyer is a true connoisseur or a passionate hobbyist who has an eye or the foresightedness to acquire pieces that will not only add value to their collection but also bring him some kind of tangible personal wealth. However, for a noble cause, the collector contributes in a big way through these charity events or big benefits. The collector bids the highest and makes their contribution to the cause while pursuing a passion and bringing glory. There, of course is a glory and thrill to it that they gain from, but the underlying cause is definitely the prime motive for such events.
Galleries delve and dabble in the business of the arts. Art philanthropy is imperative to their business and the set of activities that they indulge in. their extensive and exclusive network of artists and collectors or buyers brings a great asset to the charitable events that they undertake. Whether it is an auction, or an exhibition, the noble motive of donations and charity finds justice here.
Art exhibitions and events that have a charitable cause definitely have a lasting impact on society. Sometimes those in the society who are a little less fortunate than most tend to be ignored in terms of the assistance that needs to be extended to them. The funds are tight on the social welfare forum, hence the awareness among the common people is less too.
Art for a charitable cause focuses attention of the community on the cause. Bringing a large chunk of the society together to work towards it. The social causes find light in these events where not only do people contribute to the cause with their buys, but sometimes continue to associate with it even after the event is over. It is these art for charitable causes that brings the society an awareness and sensitivity. This awareness and sensitivity in turn ensures an honest effort from people towards the cause as a society.
There is a general trend of ascent in the society as more and more issues come to light and people join in through such efforts as art for charitable causes and with that there is a positive sensitization. This strengthens the moral fabric of the society and deepens and strengthens its roots.
The cultural fabric may have some knots. These maybe from some practices that are not relevant today and do more harm than good. Through art for charity events, the artists bring up these cultural issues too to the public platform and open these up for discussion. The culture gets an exposure at a bigger platform and the good and the bad aspects both are talked about.
This exposure is two way as the culture is exposed to the global environment and also the exposure that the culture gains from being on a platform like that. The art for charity events always have a cultural context to it. The artists showcase their own culture and the cause brings on the table issues from its own culture. It is through this two way exchange and discussions that a culture evolves and gains strength right from its roots.
The economics of a society, community or a nation is always considered as a whole, including those sections that are less fortunate and face hardships on a daily basis in context of meeting their basic needs. Art for charitable causes intends to and accomplishes to raise money to help in these causes.
The events, auctions or exhibitions or any other kind of effort for a charitable cause that comes from the art community definitely contributes to the economic betterment of those sections. The awareness that is created through these events brings some awareness and publicity to the cause, which may attract more benefactors and patrons to champion the causes, adding to the pool of helping hands for the betterment of the economy as a whole.
Not all artists come from privileged families or from good money. There is a good number of artists who. In their initial years come up through non-profits or through galleries – private or otherwise. Once these artists are doing well and make a name for themselves in the artistic community, they look for ways to give back to where they took from.
The artists in such scenarios contribute either by donating particular artworks of assigned value, or creating special limited edition or editioned works of arts especially for the cause, or lending their work for exhibitions whose ticket sales go to the charity. The inspiration to get involved in a charitable cause may also come from a specific cause which might be close to the heart of the artist themselves.
The collectors have a dual inspiration when it comes to getting involved in art for charity. The collectors are usually people of good means and standing in the community. Some of the collectors consider it a responsibility to give back to the combined resource pool of the community as they too are a part of the same community. Some collectors choose the causes that are close to their heart due to some emotional connect. The other inspiring factor of course is a little business oriented, as the works of the artists are auctioned for charity, the collectors may find it as a great opportunity to acquire some desirable pieces at a much lower price and add glory to their collection.
The collectors contribute not just through big buys, they also may lend their entire or parts of collection to be exhibited and donate the ticket sales to a charity of their choosing.
Art galleries contribute to the charitable causes from time to time and have been great benefactors. The inspiration definitely comes from the philanthropic interest that the emotional aspect of art tends to invoke. Even the business of art has a strong emotional aspect which finds a channel through these philanthropic events. Also the galleries tend to find a great amount of publicity coming their way by holding these events which further strengthens their network.
The galleries may hold auctions (silent or live) or exhibitions where they rent out collections from artists or collectors to raise funds, thus contributing to the cause of their choosing.
The charitable foundations more often than not are struggling to garner funds for their functioning and respective causes. Art for charity is inspired from their intent to raise funds and awareness of their attached cause. The emotional connect that art incites with the viewers, critics, collectors and art enthusiasts is what the foundations strive to employ for the benefit of their cause and the connected community of people.
Charity or philanthropy is the act of giving with no ulterior motive of gain – financial or otherwise. The motivation to donate comes from different reasons for each individual or organization. The intent, however should always be to raise the maximum amount in favor of the cause.
Whether the motivation comes from a desire or the feeling of responsibility to give back to the community, a special attachment to any cause or any other, the result is always that of pure unadulterated happiness to both ends of the table. Those that are in the business of art, especially the artists have found support in some way from the society; to bring this circle to a completion, contributions and donations to social causes and charitable initiatives is only natural.
Art and business are both an integral part of the culture and society and they must collaborate through these events to create and showcase art to benefit special causes.