I can say with, almost utter surety, that my art is in more homes in Valencia County than any other member of the Belen Art League.
This is not because I’m the top-selling artist in the group —far from it. It’s because for many years, I have been giving my art away. I’ve taken pieces off my walls to give to someone who is admiring the work. I’ve donated countless pieces to various agencies for fundraisers, the Department of Corrections, the Literacy Project, the Animal Shelter and the Loyal Order of the Moose. In addition to giving my finished work, I’ve freely done many pieces for friends who have asked for a particular subject.
So why do I give away so much of my work? This sure contrasts with my article last month, which encouraged artists to be greedy. The answer is simple. For me, the most important part of making art is the process of creating.
To watch a blank canvas come to life is such a hoot; it’s a God-like feeling, creating something out of nothingness. So, the more I give away, the more I get to make.
The second biggest thrill is having someone love my work — someone who wants to take it home and look at it every day. I believe everyone should have art in their home and I know that not everyone can afford to buy original art.
A great example of giving away art is demonstrated by Wisconsin artist, Scott Wong, who in 2013 started a project called “Flood the Streets with Art.” As an antidote to consumerism, he scheduled his event for the day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday. This idea spread across the country and is a featured annual event in all 50 states and 30 countries around the world. In a participating city, local artists place pieces of their work out on the streets for people to find and take home for free.
Generosity does beget generosity. In just the first two weeks of January, the Belen Art League was the recipient of acts of kindness, not just from members but from strangers. One member heard our gardener complain about our lack of a flat head shovel so he went out and purchased one for us.
Another member made a generous monetary donation toward our upcoming work to refurbish the Bugg Lights. This was followed up by a couple coming in to donate a quantity of art items they thought we could use.
In turn, our Art League endeavors to return this generosity back to the community. Our Scholarship Tea is scheduled for March 24, and our annual Art in the Park is slated for June 15, which offers super cheap spaces to craft vendors. Our kid’s summer program provides youngsters a two-week art program for only $5.
Be a giving artist. Bake cookies for someone, crotchet a baby blanket, send a handmade card to a friend. Share yourself; it makes the world a better place.
(Jo’l Moore is the president of the Belen Art League Gallery and Gifts. Email her at email@example.com or call 861-0217.)