Since I became involved in the arts community in Tucson several years ago, I have been asked repeatedly to donate art to various charitable organizations. All the projects requesting donations have been worthy. What was not so great was how incredibly demanding were some of the people asking for art. Several have been downright rude, as if they were entitled to a freebie from me and other artists. Worse, when I suggested an auction in which the artist gets a base price and anything over that price go to the charity, the person asking for the art became rather offended. The underlying idea seemed to be that we artists are so affluent that we can easily afford give away our work. To not do so was viewed as offensive to those persons demanding a donation.
I repeatedly suggested changes in the structure of the auction that would give the artist at least something. When this was met with rejection, I just began saying NO! I don’t give away my work for free. I could hear huffing and puffing on the other end of the line. And why should they go along with me? There are enough artists giving away art that the charity can do without me. To those of you artists who are affluent enough to just give away your work for nothing, your generosity tells me that you never have to worry about making sure the electricity bill gets paid at the end of the month. That’s not the case for every artist in Tucson. Some of us simply cannot afford to pay for paint, canvases, or other supplies, studio space, etc., and then give away our creations for absolutely nothing. Artists work, and we deserve to get paid for our work.
Along comes Pima Paws for Life. I’m a fan of critters with paws anyway so I am favorably inclined toward this rescue group. Some of my best friends ever have been dogs – the elegant whippets IxChel and Juno, and Yuma the oh-so-smart and oh-so-fast border collie/greyhound mix rescued in a state of semi-starvation from a Lutheran church parking lot in Yuma, Arizona. Yuma was brought to Tucson by another rescue group, Southern Arizona Greyhound Rescue, and then he came to live with me and be my companion. There’s Sunday the sweet, playful rescue pit bull adopted on a Sunday from the Southern Arizona Humane Society. And let’s not forget that irascible, short-tempered, dominating, yet totally lovable Siamese cat Crue that shared his life with us for years.
What won me over to Pima Paws for Life’s Whiskers and Wags Silent Art Auction is that finally we see a charitable organization showing some respect to the artists when requesting donations. In this upcoming art auction event, the artist has the option of giving work for free OR the option of getting a 25% return on the final sale price of the artist’s work.
I’m won over. I’ll donate three pieces in a range of prices (low, mid and higher priced), and I’ll take my 25% of the final sale price if the work sells. I believe that I’ll be helping the doggies and kitties, and yet I’ll still be able to pay the electric bill. Pima Paws for Life has shown respect to artists, and I will respond in the same way.
Find out more about Pima Paws for Life and the Whiskers and Wags Silent Art Auction here: http://www.pimapawsforlife.org/home.html
The deadline for submissions is March 5.
C.J. Shane is the publisher and editor of Sonoran Arts Network. She is an artist and writer. Visit her website at www.cjshane.com to learn more about her.