Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

 This  has been posted before by others- as we are asked for donations all the time; one may want to keep this article in mind.  There is no tax benefits for the artist; pieces are usually sold for pennies on the dollar with no reserve minimums, and it is rare to get any business afterward- and if so the prospective buyer wants an unreal deal (like at the auction). Read on, and protect yourself.  


                Fair Winds, safe travels, and check those tires & seat belts

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Comment by Cyreathia Reyer on May 31, 2012 at 12:55pm

I always donate to charity auctions.  To me it is not about "devaluing my art" or "can I take it as a tax deduction", it is about being able to give and help out the charity.  I frequently give pieces to be donated throughout the year.  Actually, going to deliver one tomorrow. 

Comment by Steve Cebula on May 30, 2012 at 1:27pm
I would guess it boils down to individual preferences. We choose to donate small items to organizations who benefit children and adults facing various challenges in life. If what we donate brightens the day for someone, that is reward enough for us. We have never been confronted by a patron looking for a discount because of our donations. Just do what makes you happy folks!
Comment by Dan Bondroff on May 29, 2012 at 8:21pm

I'm just not convinced that it is true. Other companies, when they donate their products, are they devalued? For example, if you were to win a $1,000 vacation package for a winning bid of $250 or get a $100 dinner for 2 at a nice restaurant for $35, would you then assume you could walk into those places of business and get similar discounts? I wouldn't. Why would someone expect the same thing from us? All sorts of companies, fine arts included, "devalue" their work all the time with end of season and close-out type sales. Then they bring in new inventory that many of their patrons gladly purchase with no discount.

I would be more willing to believe it if there were real statistics or even an actual example. Has this happened to anyone: A. someone wins a piece at a charity auction and then contacts you to get more work at similar discounts. or B. Someone sees your work at a charity event, then sees you at a show the next week, but decides not to buy because they will just wait until the next time you make a donation.

Before someone can claim that donating an occasional piece will devalue an artist's work, I think their should be some actual statistics to support that.

Comment by Geoff Coe on May 29, 2012 at 5:44pm

I wonder if we can get Mat Gleason (the author) to blog for AFI.  It would get him lots of exposure and polish his image in the highly-sought-after art show world. :-)

Comment by David Bjurstrom on May 27, 2012 at 8:47pm

The potential harm to always keep in mind is that if your work is selling for pennies on the dollar, the attendees see that and, in their mind, it devalues your work to the point that your actual retail prices are untenable to them.

That being said, yes, there are a very few organizations to which I will give something small because I very much believe in them. They are rare and I'm very selective.

Comment by Dan Bondroff on May 27, 2012 at 8:16pm

Just curious if anyone knows the answer to this. At some of these charity events people donate gift certificates to their businesses instead of actual merchandise. Can these be written off for full value?

Also, I get the point of the article, but I still donate small pieces to organizations that I like and want to support. I don't see the harm in it.

Comment by David Bjurstrom on May 25, 2012 at 7:56pm


I avoid these like the plague unless I get something REAL and TANGIBLE in return.

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