How the Charitable Sales Model Works
When artwork is purchased directly from the artist, the collector is asked to select one of the partnered non-profit organizations. (Find more information about these organizations below.)
- If the collector is purchasing a painting or drawing, 40% of the sales price is donated to the selected organization.
- If the collector is purchasing a limited edition print, 50% of the sales price is donated to that organization.
After the organization receives the 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charitable contribution, the collector will receive a note of thanks, a receipt of contribution, and an invitation to receive email newsletters or other organizational updates.
When artwork is purchased from an art gallery (or any other venue that retains a sizable commission), some percentage of the sales price (usually between 10 - 20%) will be donated to one of the partnered non-profit organizations, chosen by the artist before the exhibition opens.
The Thinking Behind the Charitable Sales Model
I feel strongly that art is no less vital today than it was millennia ago, when our ancestors painted on the walls of the caves that sheltered them. The best contemporary art still inspires empathy, induces catharsis, elevates our spirit, and feeds our hearts and minds. But the relationship between art-making and human experience is complicated by economics. For over 2,000 years, art has been assigned a monetary or barter value. Given this long-established correlation, it is naive to decry the commodification of art; the artist, after all, must earn a living. But too often art is principally understood as an investment and the art world as an arm of the greater luxury market. As a result, artworks are reduced to status symbols, brands traded to display the owner's wealth and social rank. As an artist and writer, I am deeply troubled by this warped appraisal of art's elemental value.
I am compelled to create artwork, but I am also committed to volunteerism and community participation. I contribute to non-profit groups and volunteer for conservation projects, but my sustained happiness requires so much time in the studio as to preclude significant action in other spheres. How can my paintings and drawings, fine art objects traded in a luxury market, exist in accord with my hopeful ideology? More specifically, how can I earn a living and connect my art to progressive efforts?
In the fall of 2008, I decided to contribute a significant percentage of every art sale to non-profit organizations that are working to redress environmental and social ails. By generating money for important causes through the sale of my artwork, I can act in proxy; the long hours in the studio can be connected to the spirit of the art and to the greater community. This charitable sales model is a concrete metaphor for the emotional and intellectual sustenance provided by the artwork itself.
If the sales model is a success, I plan to invite other artists to join an expanding network of professionals dedicated to making the art market work for the environmental and social causes that are most important to us.
Action Against Hunger
Intervening in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and chronic food insecurity, Action Against Hunger saves the lives of malnourished children while providing families with sustainable access to safe water and long-term solutions to hunger. Action Against Hunger has pursued its vision of a world without hunger for 30 years, assisting nearly 5 million people a year in some 40 countries across the globe.
The Orion Society
Orion magazine, a publication of The Orion Society, is a bimonthly journal of the literary and visual arts devoted to an exploration of the relationship between people and the natural world. Since its inception in 1982 as the Orion Nature Quarterly, it has become widely known for exceptional writing, meticulous editing, striking visuals, unique design, and its lack of advertising. In addition to the print edition, Orion also publishes written and multimedia features online; distributes a digital subscription; coordinates the Orion Grassroots Network; and engages with readers, writers, artists, and activists through conferences, writing workshops, and other outreach activities.
The Wildlands Network
The mission of Wildlands Network is to ensure a healthy future for nature and people in North America by scientifically and strategically connecting networks of people protecting networks of wildlands.
Worldchanging.com is a 501(c)3 media organization comprised of a global network of independent journalists. We cover the world's most innovative solutions to the planet's problems, and inspire readers around the world with stories of new tools, models and ideas for building a bright green future. In five years, Worldchanging has produced more than 9,000 visionary articles, written an award-winning book with foreword by Al Gore, and become the go-to source for forward thinking, solutions-based journalism. Worldchanging has brought awareness to issues like refugee aid, renewable energy and innovative solutions for improving building, transportation, communication and quality of life.