After receiving almost two letters a day from non-profits searching for donations, photographer Salem Krieger got frustrated with his inability to help all of the charities he wished to; that’s when Art is Helping was born. Launched just a couple weeks before Christmas, the organization hopes to improve the way that artists and charitable organizations interact by providing art in exchange for donations.
The idea is simple, but has the potential to cause a lot of good; you search the site for some artwork that you like, pay for it, and select the charity you wish for the proceeds to benefit. The site’s mission statement says it all: “Art Is Helping brings artists and charitable organizations together. Supporting both non-profit organizations and the artists, buyers can purchase works of art while donating to charities of their choice.”
In order to build the site, Krieger had to reach out to people he thought would be able to help him build it from the ground up. When he spoke to Alan Dorow of Site Welder, the response was fantastic; Dorow would donate his time and resources to build and host the site for free, as his contribution to the website. Although all of this was falling into place rather perfectly, Krieger hit a bit of a hiccup when trying to legitimize the site’s ability to provide tax breaks from the donations to the site’s customers; That’s when Susan Brandt and Rational Animal joined the mix.
Rational Animal is a charitable cause that “produces advocacy campaigns and community events to increase awareness and encourage support for animals in need.” Already established as a 501(c)(3), Rational Animal became the liaison for payments in order to provide tax exemptions for anyone who made an art purchase through the Art is Helping Site, not only helping Krieger’s mission, but creating a solid partnership between the two organizations.
It was also Krieger’s goal to provide the customer with only the best quality prints of the work they purchased, so he utilized his relationship with Duggal’s Jerry Ibaran to secure Duggal as the production partner for his site. “I was looking for a large printing facility who could provide full-end printing, packing, and shipping for a good price.” Sure enough, Duggal was the place.
Now that he had his website, his partnership with Rational Animal, and a facility to produce the artwork, Krieger was ready to open up shop. He collected a list of 20 photographers who would put their work on the site and began making some progress; he’s already sold a print before the Holiday, earning Meals on Wheels a $400 donation.
Each month, the site features a new artist, as well as a new featured organization, and will continue to add new artists any time that someone wishes to add work to the cause. However, there’s a couple stipulations here: “I’ve had a couple people come to me saying they want to join the cause and sell some of their work” Krieger noted. “But if your work is tied to a gallery, this cause is not for you.” Usually gallery work has a percentage attached to that gallery, and that would throw more than a couple wrenches in the charities receiving the percentage Krieger would like. If you’d like to sell edition work, once again Krieger comments that the site is “not for you.” Any work displayed on the site can be purchased ad infinitum.
Overall, the idea is brilliant, and the plan is to make a difference in the way that the art world and charitable causes partner with one another. He recently informed me of his partnership with Xerox, who will be using their iGen 5 printer in combination with a Bourg BB3202 Perfect Binder to create photo books of the work on the site. The books will cost a flat fee with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the Featured Organization each month.