Past Comments

March Issue 2005
by Tom Starland

Guidelines To Live By

Many a time I have talked in this space about the problems artists face with being asked to donate artwork for charities or organizational fundraising art auctions. My opinion is that artists should sell their work at regular market price and then make a donation - just like anyone else - if they think the project is worthy. Don't give your art away!

Some of my opinions on this subject have a life of their own on the internet. About a year ago I was contacted by Harriete Estel Berman, who was Chair of the Guidelines Committee for the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Her committee was in the process of updating guidelines on making contributions to art auctions. She wondered if I would like to look over their work and make suggestions - I did on both counts.

Berman and her committee have done a tremendous amount of work on presenting Professional Guidelines for their organization's members and have posted them on the Society's website. I highly recommend every artist - beginner and veteran check this site out. It contains some of the best info on the subject of art auctions and more that I have seen.

The site can be found at (

I Guess It's Working

It would seem that the Charleston Fine Arts Dealers' Association after six years is beginning to see results on their goal to develop Charleston into a fine arts destination. The rest of the visual art community can take credit too, but unfortunately this time - Charleston's gain is at the expense of another city in SC.

On the back page of this issue, you will see the ad calling for works by selected artists for a new art auction which will take place each year in Charleston. This is the same art auction that used to take place in the fall on Hilton Head Island, SC.

Jack Morris and Ben Whiteside of Morris & Whiteside Galleries on Hilton Head Island have decided to move their auction to Charleston from Hilton Head after doing a market study of the area. This will bring more fine art collectors into Charleston - which should be good news for everyone in Charleston.

The new Charleston auction will be one of three annual art auctions Morris and Whiteside have organized. The other two take place in Houston, TX, and Scottsdale, AZ. A major full color catalogue is produced to promote each auction.

Morris has told me that they want the Charleston auction to be a South/Eastern affair, presenting works from artists in these areas of the country. He also wants the auction to be an opportunity for major artists of the region - dealing with galleries and individual artists.

It's nice to have an art auction opportunity where you don't have to donate your work to be sold for some embarrassing price.

What's Up With That?

After reading last month's cover story about NC's program to develop more cultural tourism and my commentary, a lot of folks are asking - what is SC doing about cultural tourism?

Not much, but don't get the idea that all is well in NC - as far as the program goes. Some folks in NC think that much of the cultural tourism dollars are going to western North Carolina, and that not much is coming to other parts of NC.

I say - be thankful for what you have - even if it's not the biggest part of the pie. Some pie is better than none. And, I want my pie!

I always say, it's just as easy to promote the Carolinas as a great place for history, beaches, NASCAR, easy living and the arts.

After all, Charleston was the cultural center of America - in 1776.

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