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son of artist 03-19-2016 08:38 PM

Donating art
I apologize for taking space on this forum when I am not an artist but I was looking for some ideas for the donation of my mother's art. My mother passed away 7 years ago from kidney cancer. She was a life-long artist and did many shows throughout Southern California. My mother was treated at the City if Hope, a wonderful hospital that specializes in cancer treatment and research. I decided that I wanted to try and sell her remaining paintings (120 or so) and donate the proceeds to the City of Hope. It was an ambitious project for me, a non artist, who works full-time and lives in Northern California.

First, I put her art in storage in Pasadena. She had a website but it did not include many of her paintings. I hired a photographer to help me document all of the paintings with photos and I uploaded them to her website. Next I wrote to all of the people on my mother's mailing list (200 or so), people who had either been to a show of hers or bought some of her work, told them of my project and offered to deliver the paintings to them personally if they lived in Southern California. I received a good response and between that and a City of Hope auction, I sold 40-50 paintings. Over the years, I sold a few more and donated some to a senior center in Pasadena.

I have enjoyed doing this and am proud of raising thousands of dollars dedicated to kidney cancer research at the City of Hope. But at this point I realize I have exhausted my main avenues of selling her work and do not have the time I would like to dedicate to this project. I believe I have something like 60-70 paintings remaining. My mother did have a lot of people who admired her work and I would like to donate it, if possible. But that is not easy. Although she had a good following in Southern California, she was not famous. I have tried writing to banks, hospitals, cafes, hotel, etc. but they all have many people who want to show their work there. I am out of ideas and I have a few questions of the artists on this forum:

1) Do you have any ideas on how to donate the art? I hate the idea that it is in storage. I want it out there for people to enjoy.

2) What do you want your children to do with your art once you die? Before she passed away, my mother told me just to throw away her art. I have refused to do that but I cannot afford to keep it in storage forever.

I have thought of placing an ad in local papers or online, inviting people to come and see the paintings at the storage unit when I am in town but other than that, I am out of ideas. The website is and I am appreciative of any ideas. Thank you so much for reading this.

Susan Mulno 03-19-2016 10:08 PM

Hello, first I wish to express my sorrow at your mother's passing in such a terrible way.

I really am wondering now how you could put your mother's art to the best use. Have you considered placing this care on a trusted individual who has more time to devote to selling her art?

Do you know of Etsy?

Maybe donate some of the paintings to benefit auctions.

Even craft fairs and flea markets have been successful venues for some artists.

son of artist 03-19-2016 10:46 PM

Thanks for the reply, Susan. I have heard of Etsy but didn't know if people sell their art on there. There really is no one else to try and sell my mother's art. It is my project. I know what you are saying, though. It does require time. There are a lot of people out there hustling and trying to sell their art and so it is hard to find a venue. My mother did sell at art fairs and shows and I thought of that but I really do not have the time to dedicate to that. At this point I would like to donate the art but I am just not sure how I can do that. Thanks again for the suggestions.

just 03-20-2016 08:18 AM

I am sorry to hear about your mom. I have lost mine too. You shouldn't worry about being a non-artist and taking up space here. It happens several times a day. I would think that getting rid of her art would be a very personal duty and I don't know how to advise you.

TerryCurley 03-20-2016 09:10 AM

Personally I would set up a store in either Etsy or Ebay and donate the money received from the sales. The only draw back I see in doing that is that you will have to mail the paintings, which means wrapping them up and bringing them to the post office. The postage on a large painting could be pretty high, but if you have the buyer pay the postage (as I do) it doesn't really matter to you.

son of artist 03-20-2016 12:21 PM

Thank you for the replies. I may look into Etsy or Ebay and I am open to any other ideas.

Bushcraftonfire 03-20-2016 01:21 PM

Why don't you donate the Paintings to the Hospital in her memory? They might be something that would cheer up many other patients.. Just a Thought


son of artist 03-20-2016 01:31 PM

I did give some paintings to the oncologist and nurse that treated her. The hospital has no need for so much art. Their walls are filled with art from many places.

son of artist 06-25-2016 01:29 AM

In case someone is still reading this thread, I did find a way to donate my mother's remaining paintings. I was a little wary of doing this, but I placed an ad on craigslist under the "free" heading. People are giving away computer monitors and old couches there and I was worried I would not find any true art appreciators there. I simply said "I have some original art to donate for those who appreciate it" and I attached a photo of one of my mother's paintings.

The response was incredible, over 50 people in several days. When I sent them the link to the website so they could see all of the paintings, many fell in love with her art. They said the most beautiful things about how her art inspired them. As far as not finding art appreciators from an ad in the "free" section, nothing could have been further from the truth. I could only be at the storage unit on one day and many people came out to see her work. I was able to donate it all and some people were disappointed when it was all gone. What I realized is that there are a lot of people hungry for art that just cannot afford it. Perhaps that is common knowledge to people on this forum, but I did not know that. All in all, I met some great people and found some wonderful homes for all of my mother's art, where it will be appreciated. That is a great legacy for her and this project of mine ended better than I could have expected.

Susan Mulno 06-25-2016 06:28 AM

Wonderful news! Thank you for the update! God bless!

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