A strong sense of community and support for the arts are some of the main reasons why I moved my family 25 years ago from sunny San Diego, California to a beautiful small resort town nestled in the central mountains of Idaho.

Folded within this all-American ‘strong community’ comes a lot non-profit organizations and community service opportunities for giving back. As a prominent local artist, at times I am inundated with requests for donating my paintings or my time to various charities and fundraising events.

This past 4th of July weekend I was asked to paint childrens’ faces during the opening celebration of the new Ketchum TownSquare. This was a particularly fun event which turned out to be very popular with the kids. I was the last artist to stay (insert **crickets**) until the last little happy face was painted –  how could I say ‘no‘ to these darling faces???

girls with 4th of july cupcakes

This summer, I also chose to donate a 12″x24″ painting to the wonderful Lee Pesky Learning Institute who specialize in helping people who think and learn differently.

“Sun Valley Summer Grazing” by Lori McNee © 2010

The above painting was in need of a good home, so I donated it to the auction. Donating is a great way to ‘give back’ to your local community. It feels good to share yourself and make a small difference. People are always excited to have the chance to buy a nice painting while making a charitable contribution.

I still have two summer events of which I have committed myself:

  • I will be plein air painting during the The Sun Valley Garden Tour on July 17th. This is a fabulous way to tour some of our valley’s most beautiful gardens while enjoying music and art.
  • Also, I promised to donate a painting to the 3rd annual fundraiser for Positive Partners Assistance Dogs. This wonderful non-profit organization trains service dogs for Guide Dogs, Hearing Assistance Dogs, Mobility Assistance Dogs, Wheelchair Assistance Dogs and Search and Rescue Dogs.

Here are a few tips for artists ‘giving back’:

  1. Choose a charity, fundraising event or organization you believe in.
  2. Donating art is a great way to get your name & art ‘out there’ and in front of new prospective collectors.
  3. Donating art is often free publicity and another form of art marketing. Oftentimes, newspapers and magazines will feature articles about fundraising events and mention the donating artists.
  4. Do not overstate the value of your artwork being donated.
  5. Price your artwork at Fair Market Value. I price my donations at my retail gallery price.
  6. Donate something you are proud of. Bidders can often tell when a piece of art is something that the artist would rather get rid of than be proud of.
  7. Attach a short biography or artist’s statement highlighting a few of your artistic achievements and notable galleries and website.
  8. Attach a short description of the art.
  9. Remember that donating your art to a charity event is not about you. It’s about the cause for which you are helping to raise money.
  10. Get a receipt from the charity. You’ll need the receipt in order to claim the deduction on your tax return. The receipt should include the charity’s name, its tax ID number and your full name.
    • It should also list the date of your donation.
    • And the value you are claiming.
    • A brief description of the items donated.

My mother always said, “Charity begins at home,” and I always keep this little montra in mind while deciding how best to ‘give back’ to my community without spreading myself to thin!
…and remember, “You can’t receive with a closed fist.”
You might like to read: 3 Tips for Artists to Promote Themselves & Their Galleries, Is the Social Media Bandwagon Right for You?, Newletter Art Marketing Tips that Work!
I found these other sites interesting: How to Make a Tax-Free Donation , Should Artists Have the Same Tax Deductions as Collectors, The Art of Donating Art.