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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Charity Art Residencies (ART IDEAS)

The concept of an Artists Residency is a very popular thing these days. There are multiple opportunities for artists to go abroad, study and create art in new settings from the wind swept beaches of Nova Scotia to the streets of Paris. Last year the worlds first Artist Residency took artists by ship to Antarctica. 

But there seems to be an area that is being overlooked. That of charity organizations. What I propose is that Charities begin establishing artist residencies. The system is simple. In exchange for an artist getting the opportunity to work abroad, housing, food supplies, a percentage of the work produced while on Residency is returned to the Charity in order to be used for fundraising auctions and programs. 

The system does not even have to involve travel. A charity could establish local artist residencies where the artist has their supplies provided in exchange for a predetermined number of art pieces that are donated to the charity. 

Charities go to great lengths to create a flow of items that can be auctioned, given away, or provided to those who donate. For smaller charities this can be their life blood. With the United States government threatening to pull the finding on the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and anything else supports artists, it seems a natural fit here in the states. But I think a system could be created in any part of the world. 

The benefits for the charities are easy to see. What are the benefits for the artist besides supplies? Here is the key to making this system work. The benefit for the artist is name recognition and exposure through the charity. By a charity backing an artist and placing the artists name on fundraisers and allowing the artist to appear at events, then both parties benefit. 

I am a firm believer that artists should donate a percentage of their works and talents to the right organizations. There is argument about this in the art world because many artists get taken advantage of. That is why it is crucial that the charity is making the artist an active part of the process and not just taking advantage of free art. 

The process of choosing the right artist would not just involve the quality of their work, but finding a match that fits the needs of both charity and artist. A small local charity probably would not benefit from a chainsaw sculptors work because it would be too large to use in a fundraiser. But if that charity is raising funds to open a new local park then there might just be a match.

I know there are many instances of charities working with artists, but I am not sure anyone has considered the process as an "Artist Residency". Most collaborations between the two seem to be limited to a single event or fundraiser. On many occasions I've given art to various charity events. But now its perhaps time to take this kind of relationship to a higher level and stop taking advantage of artists by creating a cooperative interaction that both parties can benefit from. 


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