This week has been a difficult week for me – a number of things have contributed to my writing down of my thoughts. I have lost two important people in my life in the last month, one person announced that her cancer has metastasized, people in my circle of friends are loosing family members through death or the onset of dementia/Alzheimer – just so much grief all around me. The biggest problem for me has always been knowing how to support family, friends and neighbors, it is so hard to gauge their needs because they may not know either . You do not want to be overly intrusive but at the same time not wanting to be on the outside looking in. Knowing when to give space to those who are grieving and not smother them along the way. It has always been hard for me to balance the private with the semi public show of support because of my passion to be a helper.
This brings me to another issue that has been plaguing my thoughts and it is as an artist and my helper nature how do I give back to community without being taken advantage of? I thought on this quite a bit in the last couple of days. I am always being approached to donate a piece of Fused glass for a silent auction or a fundraiser with no offer of a donation receipt and I hear all the time it is publicity – no it is not I don’t hear about the donation ever again after it leaves my studio. I have a couple of non profit have worked with and I have asked for at least a 60/40 split. One is Operation Come Home a program for youth at risk, I have both cards and glass in their storefront/online shopping site called Repurpose.
Now for my real quandary, for example – there is a real crisis going on in an aboriginal community called Cross Lake six suicide deaths since Dec. 12 of teens. In light of the crisis a number of individuals have created opportunities to provide support through fundraisers, dinners, collecting art supplies, sports equipment, or sending cards with messages etc. I created a card and would like to show my support through allowing organizers to sell the cards however it costs me about $1.00 to make the each card with supplies and time (I am donating as well as my art concept). Is it wrong for me to ask for or charge 20.00 for a package of 60 handmade cards just to recover the cost of some of the supplies? I sell my hand-made cards for $5.00 each. So the organizers could sell them for that price and make $4.00 on each card.
The week before, I created for swag bags at a fundraiser 100 gift cards and was allowed to put my business card inside the gift card and donated 4 pendants for VIPs. I paid for the privilege to be part of that as it is a business opportunity which is totally different in my opinion. In the business world it is called being a good corporate citizen what is it called in the art community?
Any suggestions or comments on the issue of artists wanting to give back to the communities would be appreciated or send me an email …