Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Season of Giving Has Just Begun

Artists Steph Kesey and Erin Pollock cast faces of 52 Mt. View community members as part of a sculpture of glowing lamps in this permanent 1% for Art outdoor sculpture.

A stack of donation requests are collecting on my desk. This week alone, I’ve received five new requests for auction donations of my art for fundraising events. One of the largest auctions that I support is the annual KAKM Public Television Art Showcase Auction. A large pair of steel seals were delivered to the station last week. Two other good causes that have metal sculptures coming are the Duct Tape Ball, and the Fire & Ice Gala, major events whose auction funds will benefit many worthy local programs. I understand the necessity of donating in a tough economic climate and try to be supportive as I can, especially for organizations and causes close to my heart. That’s usually ANYTHING that benefits kids, women, families, the hungry, education, animals or the arts. However, it chaps my butt when uninformed volunteers try to goad me into donating my art, or “anything I have lying around” to an event

because I will “be able to write it off.” First, Daddy-O and I max out on our charitable giving every year without fail –NOT including my art donations. Second, artists donating their works to non-profits receive a deduction ONLY for the cost of materials used to create the work, period. NOT the fair market value of the art, ever. Americans for the Arts has been working for some time now on a proposal to allow artists to claim a deduction

for the full value of certain donated works. However, under current law, artists may still deduct ONLY the cost of materials. H.R. 1126 was to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 “to provide that a deduction equal to fair market value shall be allowed for charitable contributions of literary, musical, artistic, or scholarly compositions created by the donor.” Unfortunately, this bill never became law. On Feb 23, 2009 H.R. 1126 (you can track additional information on this bill here.) was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books.


Linda Starr said...

I was wondering what the season of giving was since the holidays just passed. What a beautiful sculpture wall. I don't need any donation write offs either, I donated way more than I could ever deduct. When donating to goodwill, I was under-estimating the worth of what I donated seems my tax program has a valuation guideline, used items are worth more than new art? what a topsy turvey world we live in, especially with regards to taxes and cost of living.

cookingwithgas said...

we sometimes see more people in a week looking for a donation then buyers.
We turned to the, Just say no, more years ago then I count.
We call it the ,"Uncle Joe Broke his toe" crowd.
They are anything from church groups to girl scouts.
WE pick several things we want to support and give only to those.
The wall is just amazing- I would love to see if in person!

Tracey Broome said...

Love this sculpture, just amazing. I have noticed that more and more people are coming around at art fairs asking for donations. So irritating when you are trying to work. This year our group holiday sale gave a portion of our proceeds to several charities. We had quite a few people show up just because of who we were supporting.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

I was lucky--this time last year I gave a teapot to the TV station who gave me an interview which set off a huge series of lucrative events :) But that is the exception, not the rule! Rather awesome sculpture there, eh?

Patricia Griffin said...

Yesssireeee, I feel your pain on this one.
And it's true that the more you give, the more you're asked to give. Because I have a gallery/retail space that is open to the public, I am accessible and get requests continually. It's so hard to say no, but it's coming to that for me this year.

In my other career in design/marketing, our firm had an application process for pro-bono projects. We selected three each year and it became a competitive deal that our whole staff got involved in selecting. Community organizations put some time and effort into their requests. I am thinking about how to develop a similar (but simpler) application for donated works. It makes the people doing the asking take their requests (and my time and work) more seriously... It's on my to-do list for this month... along with the donated pieces I've already promised to the Art & Wine Festival at month's end. Pieces that I still need to deco and fire... Yikes!

Orion Designs said...

Not only can't we "write-off" the fair market value of the piece, we've already written off the cost of the materials when purchased. This whole "tax-advantage" approach is completely incorrect. My accountant explained it all to me a few years ago.

Having said that, I do donate to the KAKM auction every year too. Friends of Pets is another of my favorites.

cindy shake said...

Yeah, I don't want anyone to think I'm a Grinch-Giver BUT it is the whole idea that I can donate a bag of clothes and household items to the Thrift Store and get more of a tax write-off than donating a metal sculpture to a worthy cause! ...unless I start using gold -hmmm ;o)

Linda Starr said...

No Cindy, melt that gold you'll get more for it. I like Patricia's idea about the application for folks asking for donations. At art fairs I've donated; one I donated more than I sold, ugh, didn't even cover my booth fee at that one.

ang said...

very cool sculpture and somewhat spooky is suspect at night :))