Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Art for Charity : Whatever the Cause , Good Kharma Thought for Today

A small sculpture with a big cause, for charity's sake.

I'm still working on this blog, it's an ongoing process and one that will take some time so I thank you in advance for your patience. In light of giving the customers what they want, MANY INFORMATIONAL ARTICLES, I thought I'd throw this one in the fry pan--just my thought of the day.

Today I'd like to discuss Art and Causes or Charity and the link between them. Let's face it, we aren't the next Warhol or Picasso and our art isn't selling for $30 Million a painting is it?   Not really.  Heck, if mine were, I would probably only keep one of my paintings a year and donate the rest to charity, because there's no way I could actually spend all that money!

Most of us like to think we are the next Warhol, especially when covered in paint, glue, and ick while creating in our studio. Mine in fact has now over crowded my office space and is quite a mess. In order to do the paperwork I must move my half completed art projects.

Works in progress and I must admit I'm getting used to working in chaos.

I like to keep my husband and visitors wondering just what I'm up to with my half-finished sculptures and parts of found objects scattered all over. One may never really understand just what goes through my head, or what I see in a pile of junk - but that's the artist's mind for you.

Now for those of you crafters who are very neat and not messy, I want to say I envy you very much because you seem to have a nice neat desk, workspace, and uncluttered studio and I so wish I could get to that point. I really want to know if that's what your studio really looks like, or if you just straighten it up for said interviews? (I like to think I'm on my way to clutter free desk space, but in the meantime I choose to function well in chaos!)

So I spend more time donating my art to charities than I do selling it. Why is this you might ask? Because I can, and because it makes a difference.

From the American Saddlebred Youth Association to the Bassett Hound Rescue, from Damien Echols sitting on Death Row in the West Memphis Three case to raising money for a lady who left her abusive husband with two kids at 46 with only the clothes on her back, I'm always game for a good cause and I've raised thousands of dollars thus far for charities--and proud of that.  I will say I learned my lesson in making sure it was a reputable situation as there are always one sour grape in the bunch. 

For this is what it's all about - my art making a statement and making a difference. That was my personal goal as an artist, to have my art BENEFIT others. Not to mention, raising awareness and raising money for various charities makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Art can raise awareness, or help put the word out in something you believe in.

Your time, supplies and efforts are rewarded when you know that you have done what you can do to help others. There's something to be said for kharma, and I can honestly say I believe in it. Not to mention there are other benefits as well- a lot of non-profit organizations will offer you a tax deductible donation form so you can write it off. Others will also link your name to their sites, or hand out some promotional materials for you which means more exposure for you in the long run.

So if you are worried that your items aren't flying out of your Etsy shop, or you aren't making a million off your art, maybe you are approaching the goal the wrong way. Isn't it really about being a respected artist or crafter? Get your name out there and do something GOOD, then sooner or later this goodness will come back around at you. Need ideas? Why not visit our friends at the EGG TEAM (etsy Goodie Goodies) as they are always up to something.

Visit our friends at the Etsy Goodie Goodies team, on Etsy go to their shop page HERE.

Maybe you have or know a local charity or religious organization that needs your help. Maybe it's dogs, cats, people, or a disease you wish to donate to. What about the local school?  Art is therapy and healing. Maybe something negative in your life can be turned to a positive in your life. For instance, if someone was hurt by a drunk driver, or someone you know suffered abuse you can seek out organizations that are non profit such as MADD or an Abuse Shelters in your area or anywhere for that matter and offer to donate art for their next fundraiser.  Have someone near and dear to you with alcohol problems or drugs? Find an organization that helps these type causes.  What about someone in your family who has suffered an illness, perhaps specific like crohn's disease? MOST specific illnesses have charities and you can find something at the local level and get on board.

Whatever you do, always remember that your art can move mountains.  Little by little, piece by piece, you can make a difference.  Like I told Damien Echols' wife Lorri that I didn't care if anyone actually BOUGHT the sculptures I was selling for them, (Ironically I sold my first piece directly here in Baltimore the next day for $306 not too shabby!)  but more so it was the point of people knowing about the cause I was supporting- for just creating awareness and getting the word out there is also making an impact. 

"Fate" is  a tribute to Damien Echols who sits on Death Row, sadly the dinosaur doens't have a way out of this sculpture--
There are causes and things that happen in all of our towns that others never hear about, much less know about, so this is your opportunity to make a stand and tell them.   I remember reading something on Jo's page at 42Things shop on Etsy how she was helping raise money for kids who lost their mom.  There are so many people who needhelp, and if you drive one or two people to learning something new a week, then they drive one or two people, then they drive one or two people, soon you have moved a mountain, and what you may have thought was a tiny thing, has become a huge movement.

Whatever cause you support, do it whole heartedly, and it will come back to you.  Other's don't have to agree with your cause and some such as political or religious views (or in my case a high profiled Death Row Case certainly to kill your career in the minds of some) will surely put you in the hot seat - but no worries, this is what makes our nation so great - Freedom of Speech and Free Thoughts for all.

Here is a site that claims they offer searches for zillions of non profits!   I typed in the word "cats" and got over 1938 entries, surely one I could make some kitty things for!

I'd love for you to comment and post links to your shops or charities you support here under this post, or if you would like to blog about your cause you may convo me and I can add you as a guest blogger.  In the meantime, happy creating!

Ira Mency

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