Art does and can have a charitable mission in life, be it through donations, auctions or collections, art can provide charitable organizations with much needed funding. It has been quoted that art and charity are close bedfellows, and just recently this was demonstrated when Medecins Sans Frontieres gained $10 million into its coffers from the sale of many valuable paintings which had been donated by Haaken A Christensen an art collector from Norway.
Artists and charities relationship has never been so close, some might say blooming. Another recent great boon for charity was the Red auction at Sotheby’s New York, it was put together by Bono and Damien Hirst and achieved $42 for Aids programs around the world.
War Child is a charity that helps children affected by war, one of their corporate fundraising officials Sara Bowcutt was tasked at selling art from Patrick Hughes and Damien Hurst to raise funds for the charity, she was quoted as saying, My background is in corporate fundraising but I love contemporary art, holding paintings by such famous artists was fantastic. I felt a bit scared.
Even a seasoned fundraiser such as Sara was staggered at the power of art and what it can achieve for charities around the world. There is a strong bond between the artists and the cause they are helping, and some artists actually say it affects their work.
War Child has also been offering paintings through eBay in online auctions, and some of Hirst originals have been sold for $8,000 each. Selling this way is relatively cheap and some might say a traditional auction house would not raise higher figures anyway.
Art is bound inextricably to War Child, its identity and its cause. Damien Hirst and Patrick Hughes have also found a cause to champion and are delighted to be associated with helping children that have been affected by the troubles and turmoils of war.
Hospitals & Art
Another strong bond between art and charity fundraising are hospital trusts. In 1959 the Paintings in Hospitals charity was formed. To date it has over four thousand pieces of art made by major well-known artists which it loans out for either pleasure or fundraising.
Some hospital trusts see art as beneficial to their patients as well as a good investment, recently University College Hospital London had a budget of half a million dollars set aside for the investment of art during its rebuild. The art purchased was the magnificent monolith and shadow sculpture by John Aitken. This marvelous attraction now proudly sits at the main entrance to the hospital on busy Euston Road in London.
Christie Cancer Hospital in Manchester was also the beneficiary of nearly 30 limited prints by Kevin Cummins of his National Portrait Gallery photograph of Tony Wilson who had died at the hospital. The prints were sold at auction and the proceeds were split between Christie and the Manchester Royal Infirmary.
There is no doubting that the art world has chosen its strange bedfellow which is charity, to be the beneficiary of its creation. And it is right and proper that something that comes from the heart can benefit the less fortunate.