My belief is that we should all attempt to support charitable causes as we are able. My wife and I have made it a policy over our 39 years of married life to donate a minimum of 10% of our income to support causes that we feel are important to us. These include giving to our church and other organizations that bring aid to people suffering natural disasters, and others that supply food and support to the destitute and homeless. We aim to support local, state, national, and international causes. Since we both retired and are living on a fixed income we continue to give our 10% but the monetary amounts are less than when I was working professionally (I had my own business and was self employed for my entire career so I don’t get a corporate pension, and my wife was a part-time language teacher without significant benefits.)
But as an artist I have a unique ability to offer charitable giving in another way. I can use my artistic skills to benefit others. In the past I have donated artwork to the permanent art collection of Monroe County Community College, my first two-year alma mater as a way to inspire young art students. The college has a large, impressive collection of artwork because they invite two visiting artists each year. These diverse arts professionals give studio demonstrations, present a formal talk about their careers and work, and donate a sample of their work to the permanent art collection of the college. Because the collection is large since the visiting artist series has existed for over 40 years some of the artworks (particularly paintings) have minor flaws caused by chipping paint. I have offered my services as an art preservationist and have provided touch-ups free of charge as needed.
Additionally, I have also donated artwork for fund raising auctions to raise money for local organizations that provide affordable housing to those struggling to get back on their feet after experiencing homelessness.
Most recently I was asked to consider donating a framed drawing to Hope Clinic, located in Ypsilanti and Westland, Michigan. Hope provides free professional medical, dental and mental health services as well as an open food pantry and more. So this was an excellent opportunity to support such a great cause. Their annual “Evening of Hope” fundraiser is a live and silent auction and is one of the main events which raise funds for the free clinic each year. I donated a framed print of “Morning Rendezvous” to the auction. This particular drawing had significant importance to me because I had given the original drawing to my Mom, who has now passed away.
So for artists we have a unique ability to use our art for the common good. There is nothing as fulfilling as sharing something that is as personal as a piece of art made with our own two hands!