Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don't Give Your Art Away

The attached letter came yesterday via email from the U.T. School of Biological Sciences. It's not a request from a charity, but from people who make a heck of a lot more money than artists do, in my case I would bet at least tenfold. I get a lot of these, some from good causes, many of them are scams, but this one got to me, maybe I was in a bad mood, or maybe just the last straw, I don't know, but I'm tired of getting these. Here is my reply:

Dear Mr. Franklin,

Per the notice on the contact page of my website, I ignore requests for donations of art. I donate a percentage of my art sales to coral reef conservation organizations and my husband and I donate a considerable amount of time, money and household goods to health and humanitarian organizations. There is a misconception about donated art being tax-deductible, only the materials used to create the art, not the value of the finished product is tax deductable. You are welcome to purchase a print on my website They are reasonably priced and coral reef conservation is a great cause to support.

Pauline Walsh Jacobson


June 24, 2009

Dear Ms. Jacobson,

Good day! I just wanted to follow up on a letter I mailed to you a few weeks ago regarding a possible door prize donation for the U.T. School of Biological Sciences Staff Appreciation Luncheon to be held on July 15th, 2009. It is our hope that you might be willing to donate something (a gift certificate for one of your prints, etc.) that we can give to one or more of our staff members as a door prize. If you are interested in donating, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by replying to this e-mail or by calling me at _____.

As I mentioned in my letter, we realize that in the current economy many are tightening their belts and we will understand if you cannot help out, but even something small would be great. Just remember, we are a non-profit educational organization and donated items are tax-deductible. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.


Steve Franklin

P.S. In case it helps in making a decision, I thought I should remind you of our plans for thanking our donors after the event. We will be putting up a thank you page in the news section of our main site ( which will list all of the businesses who helped us out and provide links to their websites. We hope this might help generate a tiny bit of extra business for those who donate.

Steve Franklin
Editor of In Vivo
Administrative Associate
Director's Office
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin


  1. Glad you addressed this problem.....and I call it that, because I too get alot of requests for donations. And yes, I recently discovered that only the materials for the art is deductible.
    I may "borrow" your response letter to my next victim !

  2. Sure, feel free to use what I wrote to "educate" people about this problem. Contrary to what people like Mr. Franklin think, serious artists are trying to make a living, not just making art for the fun of it. If I gave my art away to everybody who sends me this type of request, there would be nothing left!