East Branch Delaware River Plein Air Painters auction to benefit the Historical Socity of Middletown
I wrote earlier in the spring describing an exciting collaboration the EBDRPAP had entered into with the Middletown Historical Society. The society would choose eight historical sites in our area of the county and the EBDRPAP would paint at the sites during the summer season, 2009. We worked all summer painting the suggested locations, visiting some of the more fruitful several times. It turned out to be a challenging and exciting project.
Many of our members are traditional landscape painters while many of the sites are dominated by buildings. Of course, buildings sit in a landscape but ultimately our project was a fund raiser for the society and which would necessarily want a readily identifiable product. That issue turned out to be phantom; each painter had no difficulty finding inspiration at each site, a process that was very interesting to observe. We had, of course, as many different visions as we had painters. Variety among creative people is always exciting to watch.
We painted all summer; eight painters met the guidelines for participation. MHS wanted about twenty paintings for the silent auction. We eight, had of course painted far more than that!
We gathered all our paintings in my studio to whittle the number down to twenty, large and small, by each participant, and including each site. First of all, considering all the perimeters, we had produced a very impressive body of work. Impressive by any artistic measure. It was very difficult to exclude some beautiful paintings but we managed to choose 23 that fit our criteria.
In addition to those works to be auctioned, EBDRPAP donated the digital images of all the works produced to the society. They will choose from those images the ones to use to produce note cards that can be sold at area retail establishments throughout the year in this tourist destination.
The final piece of the fundraiser is a silent auction to benefit the society with the funds going toward the erection of historical markers. This particular silent auction also departs from the usual way of doing things in this neck-of-the-woods. Increasingly, in this area, artists have been asked to donate 100% of a work to benefit nonprofits. In that model artists donate their works and have no say in the minimum price of the sale.
The 2 year model we negotiated with the historical society differs in several important ways:
1. The auction is 50/50 or the artist may choose to contribute 100%. Contrarily, the artist may take the 50%, and then write a check to return it to the nonprofit and the tax laws view that transaction more favorably than donating a painting where the artist can only deduct the cost of the materials used to create the it.
2. The artist sets the minimum bid thus eliminating the possibility of a painting being sold for an unacceptable amount.
3. The artist keeps ownership of any painting that does not sell for the minimum amount.
Now the time is here. The auction, set for the day after Thanksgiving is approaching and we are so excited. The paintings are previewed at NBT Bank, Margaretville, NY, one of the sponsors of the event. Publicity is appearing. Keep your fingers crossed that our “experiment” does indeed make money for this good cause and the artists.