When You Can’t Even Give It Away

A few years ago, I started giving away free art on my newsletter. When acquiring the pieces, I have only two rules: 1) I can’t know the artist and 2) I have to purchase the art so it results in a sale. This is just one of many ways I strive to support the arts.

I’ve given away all kinds of art via the newsletter, CDs, books, jewelry, pottery, photographs, glasswork, wood carvings, fabric art, etc. Some months, as many as 20 people enter the drawing. Other months, only 5. It’s been interesting to see which pieces garner the most entries, but I also suspect entries are higher at certain less-busy times of the year.

Lately, though, interest in the giveaways has gone down, and I wonder if I should continue. People are just so overwhelmed by e-mail and social media they can’t be bothered to open a newsletter to see this month’s item or to click the link to enter.

And I so get that. I used to pine for more information about what was going on in my town. Now, I get three Facebook notifications a day about three local events all taking place at the same time. Concerts, talks, fundraisers, readings, etc. How do I choose? Who do I support and who do I let down? You can’t do everything!

As artists, we struggle constantly with wondering about the value of our work and effort. I produce this free blog every week, and every week I wonder if anyone is going to read it. People are so busy. Heck, I don’t even have time to read half the blogs I subscribe to!

But then someone will send me an e-mail saying, “I loved your post this week. It was just what I needed to hear.” I breathe a sigh of relief. If just one person was motivated or inspired by my words, the effort was worth it.

At least I know the people entering my art giveaways really want that piece of art. They are always so excited to win. And the artists are grateful for the sale and the exposure. And I’m happy to serve my fellow artists. So all things considered, it’s a win-win-win.

I know it feels sometimes like we are singing into the wind, but better that than not singing at all. Do what brings you pleasure, do what you believe in, and trust the wind will carry your song to the one person who needs to hear it.

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