Saturday, June 6, 2009

Still Obsessing

It is the beginning June and it is still cold enough here in Minnesota to see the steam rise from my coffee. Last Wednesday there was a hard frost up north and a lot of tomato plants were probably unhappy.

This week’s Designs for Good focus is back on my Circular Obsessions sculpture series. I’ve created a catalog layout for the series using Adobe’s InDesign. You can view the catalog here. The plan is to use the document as the center piece of my marketing campaign with the goals of getting the series shown in an upscale venue as part of a charitable event. The works of art (mine and potentially other artists) will act as ‘gifts’ for significant donation levels.

Simple enough idea, but as I’m learning the execution will be challenging. The reactions from those I’ve talked to vary wildly from “what bad karma are you working off’ to comments which you would expect like "that is a very generous idea". Then there are the practical concerns of how the funds might be collected and if there are any legal issues with collecting charitable contributions.

The first reaction from most artists is (and rightfully so) "who has the time and money to offer their work" and why should they if they are unsure about where the money goes. So my first thought was to insure the money went to other artists.

As mentioned in the last post I talked to a CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) representative over the phone, but haven't heard back from them. I didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling during our conversation. Seems getting involved upfront in a project to raise funds via an idea like mine isn't something they typically do. It is more typical for them just to receive funds after someone has had some sort of fund raiser.

OK, I'll come closer to home. The Minneapolis Institute of Art has a program for local artists called MAEP which stands for Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program. Hmmm... so why not put on a show whose goal is to raise money for MAEP. In the last edition of the museum's quarterly they introduced Christopher Atkins as the new Coordinator of the program and it states "He looks forward to brainstorming with the MAEP panel for ways to respond nimbly to economic constraints."

This looks promising right? So I think I'll have my propaganda printed up, add a cover letter and see what he thinks of the idea. There may be very good reasons why it won't work, but I'm not aware of them at the moment. People donate to museums all the time. I'm just taking a hint from public radio and suggesting that we give a gift (a work of art) for a donation on a certain level.

I would like for other artists to participate by donating some work (and by the way obtain some high quality exposure), but I am willing to fill a small gallery with enough work myself if necessary, and I'm flexible enough I think to work through other issues.

I'm very curious to see what Christopher's response will be. Hopefully he can give me some advice regarding a better approach should this idea not be a fit.

First things first. I have to complete the propaganda and get it printed.

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