The Pocono Arts Council will keep preying upon artists in their community, unapologetically. PS if you tire of this blah, blah, blah. Hang on. My response is coming 🙂 Ann – In light of your recent facebook post and Youtube video, I would like to take this opportunity to explain the Pocono Arts Council’s upcoming Spring for the Arts Gala and its focus on emerging artists. For 42 years the Council has been the “Chamber of Commerce” for the arts in the region and while it is multi-disciplinary, the bulk of its service has been geared to visual artists and fine craftsmen. PoconoArts is a 501(c)(3)with an all-volunteer board of directors.For visual artists, PoconoArts provides 10 public galleries, as well as the ARTSPACE Gallery which is the oldest professional gallery in the area. To support the local artists, our gallery commission is only 20%, as opposed to the usual 50% most galleries charge. ARTSPACE shows also have prize money, something no other gallery in the area offers. PoconoArts DOES NOT “pass along” artists’ names to other local organizations for donation purposes and always does its best to educate the public on the fact that artists must be paid for their work. In addition to its galleries, PoconoArts publishes a monthly newsletter where local, regional and national “calls for entries” are posted enabling artists at all levels access to sales in areas beyond our community. Finally, as one of the 13 PA Partners in the Arts, a regranting arm of the PA Council on the Arts, PoconoArts has granted $1,892,742 in support of artists in all disciplines over the past 20 years. Many visual artists fall into this category. As a SERVICE organization, all these opportunities are done on a very small budget with very limited staff. Spring for the Arts is our major fundraiser of the year. In the past, the event has focused on established artists and there has been much grumbling among young artists that they have not been involved or represented.This year’s focus was meant to do just that – focus on emerging artists – and get them involved in the local arts community. PoconoArts has gone out of its way to give emerging artists a special exhibition with no entry fee, offered award money, and lowered prices to the event – all so that younger artists would begin to participate. The event itself will introduce work to local collectors who do not know these artists and have limited access to their work. Nothing was demanded of the artists, but there was a clear understanding that they would donate a piece to be auctioned in our fundraiser. In exchange, in addition to the special exhibition, the artists whose pieces were chosen for the fundraiser get to attend the fundraiser as guests of PoconoArts. This opportunity to show their work and to mingle with the art-buying public in exchange for one piece of art does not seem exploitive. We find that artists are willing to donate to a social service agency when asked. It is unfortunate that a person who has no connection with PoconoArts would deem it exploitive when we ask the community we support and serve to make a donation to us. All industries have their entry into the professional world – lawyers do pro bono work and apprentice plumbers do not get paid at the professionals’ rate. Sometimes recognition comes with a cost that an individual needs to realize and accept.The goal of Spring for the Arts is to CELEBRATE THE NEXT GENERATION OF ART! Participation by that generation can only help them become the movers and shakers of the future. We support young and emerging artists in their efforts to succeed. It’s time for those artists to realize that by being involved they can gain much more, in future sales and shows and in influencing the community. Laura Goss, PoconoArts Executive Director
Laura,I just noticed that you used my personal Facebook account to send me an IM instead of just replying to the email that I sent to you last week.Please refrain from using my personal Facebook account. It is for personal correspondence with friends only. Nothing that you have explained justifies your predatory practices.If I understand you, you are doing the artists in your community a big fat favor by letting twelve of them come to your party where they can witness their art being auctioned off for whatever people feel like paying for it and the artists won’t receive a dime. But they could get a small prize and maybe an hors d’oeuvre? Oh, and they will need to drop off their art on time and pick up what you don’t want, on time.Your disdain for those who you are charged to serve comes across loud and clear, “much grumbling among young artists.”Are you comparing an artist’s donation to an attorney’s pro bono work because emerging artists and attorneys make about the same amount of money?You will find artists willing to donate their art because:
- some artists are a hobbyist and selling their art is not how they earn their living.
- you have lured them in with a false promise of “exposure.”
- they feel powerless to the influence of an organization like yours, so they will comply.
If you are really “educating the public on the fact that artists must be paid for their work” then stop contradicting yourself and pay them.“Sometimes recognition comes with a cost that an individual needs to realize and accept.” And the cost of an artist’s success is giving YOU free art? Is that right?Who are you to decide the “cost?” Your “small budget and very limited staff” is absolutely no excuse for making false promises of “exposure” which is what you are intimating. This is one of the most obnoxious things I have ever read and YOU are the Executive Director of a county arts council, supported by public funds. Yikes!If you really want to support artists then you, or your organization’s patrons, should buy the art that you are so eager to feature.You may donate the cost of the art as a tax deduction.But if an artist donates their art, the deduction is limited to the cost of their materials only. The big point that you are missing is that when art is sold at discounted prices at charitable auctions it negatively affects the retail value elsewhere.Did you listen to what Melissa said?Do you even care how this makes her and other artists feel?Shame on you. You own Melissa an apology. Educate yourself and find fair and ethical ways to raise money.This is exactly how you are coming across https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMBnMtxhdzQ