WIP, With a Cherry on Top, collage/acrylic, 15 x 30
Elizabeth W. Seaver
I agreed to help the Fredericksburg Area Museum by being one of 9 artists who did painting demonstrations during their fundraiser on Saturday night. The paintings were auctioned off, wet, at the end of the evening.
I did the collage and drawing the day before, but decided to try to paint the entire thing in the time I had after setting up--quite a challenge. And then, the organizers moved the auction time up half an hour to get as many bidders as possible, which made it a super-challenge! During the painting time, folks came up to talk and ask questions about the process, etc. The kids were the cutest, one of whom kept an eye on me and said several times during the evening, "You're doing a good job." I don't think I'd have made it without the encouragement!
The bidding is excruciating for me, so I did not stay in that room for long. But, the best thing about the evening was that my piece went to friends of my son's. I love the idea that young people are starting a collection of original art. That they wanted my piece was a HUGE compliment. Thanks Jason and Lindsay, you made me so happy! And you helped the museum, too. You guys are great x 2!
The part of the evening that I struggled with, even as I agreed to do this months ago, still makes me uncomfortable. Why is it that artists are the go-to for fundraisers (esp. in our town?) It is the assumption of those who ask us that the exposure will be so good for us. In fact, usually the work goes so cheaply that it actually undermines our art businesses.
Can you guess what brought the highest bid at the auction? Yep. Basketball tickets. Two tickets for one game went for $2500, as much as five or six of the paintings put together. Doesn't that say something to the organizers? Their crowd doesn't want art. It wants sports stuff or trips. Give them what they want, and raise more money. Let the artists create for those who appreciate their work.
Here's what I am thinking. From now on, I'm going to give work to benefit artists and the arts organizations with which I am involved. Period.
What has been your experience? Any thoughts out there about fund raising or a better way to include some benefit to the artists who generously give their work to various causes?