Archive for the ‘Donating Art’ Category

The Best Fundraiser Event of the Summer – a Dinner and Auction for the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, is Almost Here – Aug. 23, 2012

Sunday, August 5th, 2012


If you’re a regular follower of Carolina Arts, you know we love the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC. It’s a fantastic facility, a real asset to NC’s cultural community, and we wish we had something like it in South Carolina, but we don’t.

But…the big problem is that under this economy and with a push form the right to reduce government spending in exchange for tax breaks – funding for the arts is hard to come by, but the Pottery Center and its supporters don’t mind earning it the old fashion way – with hard work and creative thinking. They could just say – please give us some money, but where’s the fun in that? So they keep coming up with ideas like the Potter’s Palette, where they got potters to paint on canvas and auctioned them off as a unique art treasure and this new idea – Fill Your Plate. But you can read all about that in their press release about this fundraiser.

Give them your support – they deserve it.

Here’s the PR:

North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Presents 13th Annual Auction, “Going, Going, Gone to Pots”

The North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, has worked some extraordinary culinary magic for their upcoming auction. This year there will be an unprecedented, star-studded, pre-auction supper, called, “Fill Your Plate,” with food prepared by several of the Triangle’s best chefs, and served on plates made by North Carolina potters.


The chefs include Ashley Christensen of Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, and Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, NC; Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill, NC; Amy Tornquist, of Watts Grocery in Durham, NC; Aaron Vandermark of Panciuto in Hillsborough, NC; and Brendan Cox of the recently opened Oakleaf in Pittsboro, NC. Never before has such a caste been assembled, these chefs are truly amazing, several have won or been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Awards, and with such gastronomic wizards on board, it’s bound to be a bountiful banquet!

This will be the Pottery Center’s 13th Annual Auction, “Going, Going, Gone to Pots,” and it will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales in Hillsborough, NC.

Before supper, each participant in “Fill Your Plate” will select a handmade plate which they can take home with them after supper. The pleasure of combining fine pottery and fine dining is something potters have known for a very long time, North Carolina’s ceramic history is filled with pickling jars, buttermilk pitchers, casserole dishes, pie dishes, and this event will remind patrons of the special relationship between food, pots, and potters. It’s going to be a memorable meal. Supper starts at 6pm.

Work by Hitomi Shibata in the auction

But the evening’s fun only begins with the feasting. There will be a silent auction featuring pots generously donated by over 70 of NC’s finest potters, as well as many enticing non-pottery items, like wonderful holiday stays at the beach, or in the mountains.

After supper the live auction will take place starting at 7:30pm, highlighting several very special pots, antique and new, made by the best-known potters of NC, and also some unique pottery “Experiences,” like making pots for an afternoon with Ben Owen, decorating plates with Alex Matisse, and helping Daniel Johnston and Mark Hewitt fire and unload their kilns. You’ll also be able to bid on having lunch and a private museum tour with Larry Wheeler, Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art, and a two-hour privately conducted golf-cart tour of the NC Zoo!

Work by Ken Sedberry in the auction

The North Carolina Pottery Center promotes awareness of North Carolina’s world-class pottery heritage through exhibitions, education, outreach, and visitor service. Located in Seagrove, just south of Asheboro, NC, it’s a great tourist destination, and serves as the perfect start to a visit of area potteries.

All in all, this year’s auction sounds unforgettable, so be sure to attend, and pass the word along to your friends. The cost of “Fill Your Plate” will be $75 per person, for which you’ll get the mouthwatering meal and a plate to take home, which is quite a bargain! Alternatively, if you’d like to attend only the auction, admission is $10.

Work by Kyle Carpenter in the auction

The NC Pottery Center wishes to thank its sponsors for this event: First Bank, Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales, Shelton Vineyards, Katie B. Morris, Progress Energy, Carolina Arts, Gardner Heating and Air, Kimberly Woodard, Community One, Hans Klaussner Foundation and The Courier Tribune.

Auction items will be online for viewing and phone bidding will be available, see details at (, (, and (


The NC Pottery Center is now selling raffle tickets, at $10 each or 3 for $25. Choose which raffle package you are interested in of purchase tickets for both. You do not have to be present to win – drawing will take place Aug. 23, 2012. Tickets are available by phone at 336/873-8430, at the NC Pottery Center or at Westmoore Pottery in Seagrove, NC.

One item is a Pierced Plate, with a retail value of $600. The plate is red earthenware with a yellow slip background. The plate was made and decorated by Mary Farrell of Westmoore Pottery. Another item is a vase, with a retail value of $550. The vase was wood fired, salt glaze with slip trailing and ash glaze, made by Alex Matisse. The third item is an Umstead Gift Certificate, with a $320 value, for an overnight stay in a premier king room with breakfast for two in Herons Restaurant.

You can see the raffle items at this link (

Please contact NCPC directly for Tickets and Reservations by calling 336/873-8430. More information about the Auction and Supper is posted on NCPC’s website at (

North Carolina Pottery Center Holds Annual Fundraising Auction at Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales in Hillsborough, NC – Aug. 11, 2011

Thursday, July 14th, 2011


As you all should know by now, government support for the arts is being cut back – whether it’s from local, state or national sources. That’s why fundraisers like the NC Pottery Center’s Going, Going, Gone to Pots is so important. But, it’s also a great opportunity to make a bid on some great pottery – new and old – by some great potters.

Hey Tom, I thought you have argued against the visual arts being used for fundraising purposes. I have and still will, as the visual arts are being used as what seems like the sole source of fundraising in the non-profit sector, but when it comes to visual artists helping the facilities and organizations that benefit them – bring it on. I’m all for that – it just makes sense.

And, if you’re thinking – I don’t need another piece of pottery or you can’t be bothered to go to an auction – just send the NC Pottery Center a check. The results are the same – just not as fun. Here’s a link for an easy donation.

So here’s a press release about the NC Pottery Center’s fundraiser.


The North Carolina Pottery Center, in Seagrove, NC, partnering with Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd (LLAES), is pleased to announce, the 12th annual Going, Going, Gone to Pots fundraising auction on Aug. 11, 2011. The auction, our main fund raising event of the year, will feature an outstanding selection of contemporary and vintage North Carolina pottery donated by top NC potters and collectors, as well as other exciting participatory and pottery related items. The lots are available for viewing now at ( and ( This provides an excellent opportunity to purchase the work of nationally known NC artists for your collection, whether you live in NC or thousands of miles away. The move of the auction to Hillsborough, NC, and LLEA’s offers the opportunity for absentee, advance and live  telephone bidding for persons unable to attend the live auction.

Work by Mark Hewitt

The Auction is scheduled for Thursday evening, beginning with a 6pm wine and cheese reception with the potters, a chance to meet and talk with several of North Carolina’s prominent potters. The auction begins at 7pm with raffles and more. There is no admission and everyone is welcome!

The fundraising efforts are already underway on line, with more being added soon. Visit ( to purchase raffle tickets for an 18” Donna Craven covered jar valued at $450. This piece will be on display at the NC Pottery Center until Aug. 9, 2011, and then again at the auction reception. Tickets are $10, or 3 for $25, and all proceeds will benefit the ongoing operations of the North Carolina Pottery Center.

Bean Pot with lid by Jugtown Circa 1930-1940, Donated by Bruce Daws

The NC Pottery Center’s mission is to promote public awareness and appreciation of the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery-making in North Carolina through education programs, public services, collection and preservation, and research and documentation.  As with all non-profits, fundraising continues to be challenging but your support allows us to implement exciting possibilities and ensure continued success and viability of this museum that promotes and protects one of North Carolina’s most treasured resources. We hope you will stand with us to keep this wonderful tribute to clay viable and ongoing by supporting our annual auction.

Works from Cole Pottery

Along with our partner, Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, the following sponsors have generously committed their support to the North Carolina Pottery Center’s auction: First Bank of Troy, Brad Crone, Progress Energy, American Ceramics Society, Aftifex, Jugtown, Caroleen Sanders, Linda Carnes-McNaughton, Pat Palmer & D. A. Livingston, Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation, Community One Bank, The Cranford Agency, Bruce Daws, Carmen Guy, Patricia Hart, Klaussner, Benjamin McDowell, Marilyn Palsha, Pugh Funeral Home, Westmoore Family Restaurant, Gardner Heating & Air, Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, Randolph Printing, The Grove Park Inn, Courtyard by Marriott Chapel Hill, Ducksmith House B&B, Seagrove Stoneware Inn, NC Zoological Society, Chili’s with more joining daily.

Work by Sid Luck

The North Carolina Pottery Center offers educational opportunities to statewide schools and individuals, changing historical and contemporary exhibitions, demonstrations, and information about statewide potters. The NCPC is a private nonprofit entity, funded primarily through memberships, grants, admissions, and appropriations.

The Center is open, Tuesdays – Saturdays 10am to 4pm. Admission (excluding free special events) is: $2 – adults, $1 – students 9th through 12th grades, Free – children through 8th grade, free – NCPC members. Handicap accessible. Groups and tours welcomed.

For further information and details call 336/873-8430, e-mail at ( or visit (

Pros and Cons of Donating Art for Art Auctions to Benefit Non-Profits – Any Non-Profit

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Well here’s a subject I feel I have dealt with many times over my 20 + years of doing commentary for any of the three versions of our paper or on this blog. As much as artists tell me they hate being asked to donate art to these fundraisers, how much they are often sorry and humiliated when they do, and how much it is hurting their market – they continue to do it – as a group, if not individually.

I’ll state up front that I have heard many more cons than pros on this issue, but then I heard mostly from visual artists who are on the giving end of this issue. And let me be very clear – many of these artists are happy and willing to give to many causes, but the number of times they are asked is just too many.

It should be noted that I am going to open the Comments link to this blog for the first time. So for all those folks who have been bugging me about taking comments – here’s your chance and if you don’t show up – the link won’t be opened again. (The Comments link is now closed due to all the good folks who wanted to bring you their commercials on the coat tails of this blog.)

I’m also going to make some links to past commentary I’ve made on this subject to cut down on this posting’s length and link comments made by artist in other blogs. Click on them for further opinions. It should be noted that some of these links will go back as far as ten years ago, so comments will contain dated references.

Why does this subject continue to be a nagging issue with visual artists? I’ll try and look at several points of view offered over the years. And, hopefully we’ll hear from some of the artists out there and maybe some of the organizers of these auctions.

Who is the Victim and Who is the Villain?

Who is to blame? Is it the charities and non-profits for realizing that artworks make the best and easiest auction items? Is it the Federal Government for making an artist’s donation of art to a charity or non-profit less valuable than a cash donation? (For those who don’t know – the IRS only lets artists take a deduction for the cost of materials it takes to make a work of art – not its market value.) Is it the art buying public’s fault for waiting for these auctions to grab greatly under-priced art for their collections? Is it some galleries fault for pressuring artists to give to causes that bring accolades to the gallery and gallery owners? Is it the artist’s fault for ever considering making such donations to begin with?

Maybe it’s my fault for bringing up this subject – time and time again. That’s what some people say – I’m to blame for artists’ unrest over donating art. But I neither make art or attend these auctions anymore – so there is no effect on me other then the effect art auctions have on the art market and art galleries in general and the resulting effect that has on our support base. Some folks who support us also conduct art auctions as fundraising events – so that factor may be a wash. My main problem is having to listen to countless stories and complaints from the artists about being under siege to donate art to these events. My sympathy is with the artists, but it does get old after a time – as nothing changes on this subject since some of the same artists who complain – keep giving.

I’m not saying all art auctions are bad. I’m totally in favor of art auctions which help causes that the artists providing art directly benefit from – like potters donating works to help keep the doors of the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, open. But, I’d think twice about donating to an arts organization or institution that would never let my work through the door.

I’ve heard from artists that Brookgreen Gardens in Pawley’s Island, SC, conducts a fair and positive art auction. Artists actually hope to be asked to participate, but I never see any public publicity about this auction, meaning Brookgreen has a waiting audience for this event and that means people may be waiting to buy art at this annual event. So there could be a downside for art galleries the artists don’t see themselves.

My advice to artists who complain to me has always been – sell your art at market value and then make a cash donation to the charity – getting a full tax deduction – if you feel the cause is worthy. No not donate your art, even art you have had collecting dust in your studio. How could a charity complain about that unless there is more to this practice than gaining funding for their charity – like the auction event itself.

Donating for Publicity

Yes, a few artists benefit from this practice, but it is only a few high-profile artists who are used as bait to gather in others. It must be nice when one of these few individuals are featured in a newspaper or magazine article on how their generosity helps provide funding for a certain charity or non-profit, but what about the 30 to 50 other artists who donated work to this auction – where is their publicity – where is their moment to bask in the sunshine of public praise? In most instances, I can barely get a full list of the participating artists. In those instances when we can’t get a full list – I won’t publicize the event on our website.

I’ve seen billboards promoting art auctions where just one featured artist has artwork presented on the billboard. I’m sure every artist contributing to that auction cringes when they pass one of those signs thinking, “I’m helping too.”

And every solicitation for donations to these art auctions always includes the statement – “This event will include artwork from the finest artists in (fill in the area)”. Who wants to be left out of that group? And do you think all art auction organizers are that picky to only accept works from the finest artists in a certain area, and if you don’t give does it then follow that you are not one of the finest artists – even if you might be considered one by your peers and informed authorities?

As an artist who donates works to these auctions, are you always glad your name is on the list when you see the full list of artists included in the auction? Or are you shocked at who is on the list and who is not – maybe even artists’ names that are not included but you were told they would be to get you to make a donation – it happens.

Is it Fundraising or all about the Event?

Some might be shocked to learn that some of these art auction fundraising events don’t generate a profit – that at the end of the day, the events cost more money than they generate or at best just break even. Some charities claim they have to throw a big party to attract the folks with the deep pockets. I always thought that the idea behind charity was for those with money to give to worthy causes – not expect the organization to go in debt hosting a fundraising event. The audience should be bidding up on auctions – not bidding down.

I once had the pleasure of asking an organizer of one of these art auction events why the event didn’t make any money. They explained that the cost in providing food, drink and entertainment for the event was more than the art auction took in. When I suggested why they didn’t ask the folks providing the food, drink and entertainment to donate their work – they were outraged at the suggestion and said these folks were professionals. I later found out that art works that were donated but did not generate any bids were taken home by volunteers working at the fundraiser – for all their hard work instead of being returned to the artists. I’m not usually dumbfounded by some people’s remarks but this was early on in my experience and I was just stunned at this person’s lack of respect for the value of the art being donated to their cause. It seemed that the artists who were making this whole event possible were holding the lowest spot on the totem pole as far as respect goes.

I’ve kept a close eye and ear out for this group and I’m happy to report that they have never done another art auction as a fundraiser – as far as I know. If they do – you’ll read about it here.

Not Just a Local or Regional Problem

This is not a local problem or even a regional problem – it is a problem for all visual artists nationwide and around the world.

Here’s a link to a commentary I made in our Carolina Arts‘ Aug. 2006 issue entitled, Fundraising With Art Auctions.You’ll have to scroll down the commentary to find the part about art auctions.

Some Comments from a few Blogging Artists

Here’s an entry from Joanne Mattera Art Blog about receiving requests to donate art and the comments her comments attracted.

Here is another entry by the blogging artist, Joanne Licsko about donating art.

It’s not hard to go to Google and search for comments about donating to art auctions and you’ll find all kinds of opinions – pro and con – mostly con.

Offering Some Alternatives

Here is a commentary I offered in the Dec. 2000 issue of Carolina Arts onHow NOT to get in a Gallery. It covers the issue of how art galleries feel about artists who donate works to numerous art auctions, how gallery owners feel about competing with art auctions and offers an alternative way to fundraising.

Here is a commentary I offered in the Mar. 2004 issue of Carolina Artscomparing three art related fundraisers taking place in Charleston, SC, during the same time entitled, A Tale of Three Fundraisers. It shows how creative or clever some folks can be in fundraising or boosting attendance.

Here is a Guest Commentary offered by Jerry Spencer, a gallery owner in Charleston, SC, in the Sept. 2003 issue of Carolina Arts about art auctions – offering his view as an artist, gallery owner, and art educator.

Congress could soften the blow of art auctions for artists by allowing them to take a market value deduction for their donations of art to non-profits – for art auction fundraisers or even for institutional collections. But it still wouldn’t relieve artists in demand from constant requests for donations. In fact, it could even make the problem more server.

So what do you think? Can artists ever break free of this practice or burden? Can charities, non-profit organizations, art institutions ever come up with a better way to do fundraising and give the visual artists a break?

I wish this would be my last words on this issue, but I know it won’t. I’m glad to be the point of the spear on this issue, even though the subject is exhausting at times. But I can only imagine how exhausting it is for the artists.

Here’s a real kicker. A week or so ago I got an e-mail from an artist who wondered why we didn’t do an art auction fundraiser to help us out of our financial problems – they would donate. They missed our color covers. I do too. I had been working on this piece for some time when their e-mail came. My answer was that we are not big proponents of art auctions, they were the first artist to suggest it, and I felt that we have mentioned our financial troubles enough that if there was a ground-swell of interest in doing an art auction for us – it would have happened already. I thanked them for their thought, but felt that readers have heard me loud and clear on this subject and artists are weary of art auctions. Besides we’re all having financial problems.

EDIT: Comments were lost in 2014 due to website difficulties.