It could have easily been a big win for everyone involved, instead it was a "lose-lose-lose" for the small local museum, the artists, and everyone at the event.
The small community-supported museum had sent out an email asking artists to donate something for a fundraiser associated with the opening of a new show. It was our anniversary and Harry and I decided to attend the show opening and buy something from the fundraiser.
All donated artwork was to be priced $100, because they wanted to make the art accessible to the public. That one email was the only info we had on the event, and the event was terrible. They threw the donated art on a conference table in a small room in the back, away from the main galleries. They hand-wrote the artists name on a piece of paper and taped it to the side of the artwork. Like a garage sale or something. They did ZERO promoting of the artists who participated. The very few donated pieces were of poor quality, and shabby-looking. There was absolutely nothing worth buying and we left empty-handed and disappointed.
The museum blew a great opportunity. Without much more effort they could have done so much more to promote the event and the artists (both before and after) and to present the artists and their work professionally. Then everyone could have gotten what they wanted. Instead, no one got what they wanted.
There are so many similar situations out there. How do you avoid them or turn them into a "win-win?" Be selective about what events you become involved in. Before you participate, make sure you know how all the involved parties will benefit and what your costs are: money, time, materials, opportunity costs as well. Don't donate your bad work, only work you are proud of. Speak up if you have ideas to make it better! Be selective, participate in events that are a "win-win" for everyone involved.
Also, spend some time learning with an art marketing expert so you can quickly identify what is a good opportunity for you, and what's not. If you're near Pasadena, you can do this in-person with A.C.T.'s Artist Advisor and Art Marketing Strategist Aletta de Wal at the end of October, at the Learning & Product Expo: ART! Read more here. Not local? Check out everything A.C.T. has to offer here: View the video, listen to interviews with artists, read their stories.
All my best to you and yours,
P.S. Want a bit of help on how to successfully run your art business? If you haven't already had one, you can request a free 15-minute conversation here. It's a great start!