Friday, March 14, 2008

Red Cross Art Auction

Last night was the Art Auction at the Queensbury Hotel to benefit the Adirondack/Saratoga Chapter of the Red Cross. They collected Windows and handed them out to local artists to decorate with the theme "Windows on the Adirondacks". I made one - pictures 1 2 3 4. They did a good job of advertising, a mass mailer, lots of posters and even went through the work of putting all the images up on their website.

However, the hors d'oeuvres were lacking, the drinks were expensive, and most importantly, the auction seemed to be mainly attended by the artists themselves, not necessarily patrons of the arts with fat wallets. Of course I love events where I can meet socially with my fellow artists, but the "starving artist" title isn't ironic - it's true.

No art went for more than $250, I believe, which is an insult to the artists - the time spent on some of these is worth thousands of dollars per window. There were windows sold for a dollar. There were a total of 112 windows, which makes for a very impressive show, but also for an excruciatingly long auction. The fee to even get in to the auction was $35, which is steep, in my opinion. I think that if it was lower, more people would have come to the auction and bid, and also that people attending would have been a little more excited to spend money if they hadn't already dropped a chunk of it at the door. The fact that the auctioneer didn't know much about art and had to practically beg people to bid was very nerve-wracking to me as an artist. The entire time, I was mortified that my painting was going to be insulted and then sold for a dollar.

To my relief, mine found a good home with Post Star photographer TJ Hooker. HUGE thanks, TJ! Here are the pictures TJ took for the Post Star.

I couldn't help but think that there must be more efficient fundraisers that aren't as frightening to artists. As is, art isn't the most thriving business - there is a very small percentage of the population who cares enough about art to make it to such events, and an even smaller percentage of that percentage that can afford to pay a fair price for artwork. The auction was impressive as an art show, but I feel badly that the Red Cross (and the artists donating their work) put so much work in for so little return.

Of course, with Glens Falls striving to cater to a more sophisticated and cultural audience, perhaps the next charity auction in this town will be better than the last few.

1 comment:

JudyOlson said...

Hi Kate, just found your blog! I meant to ask you if you had gone to the auction, then it just slipped my mind. Sounds like the disaster that I imagined, that's why I didn't go. They should have had a minimum bid, and then returned the art if it didn't make minimum. I know I'd like to have my work back if it didn't sell for at least $50.00. What a shame, really.