Giving Blood at Canadian Blood Services

mixed media art female nude

As of the beginning of June 2014, I’m a blood donor with 57 donations. I started donating blood when I was around 18 or 19, I can’t really remember – early 80s anyway. I can’t remember why I started except that it seemed to be the right thing to do – this was before the Jackie Chan ads but I do know his message was my thoughts. I took some time off of donating while in the Air Force, children and such and iron deficiency problems which still plague me today, but this last issue is counteracted by taking an iron supplement. I try to give a minimum of four times a year if I can. Even after these many donations I can’t stand the needle, I can’t stand to look at it at all, and have to take a deep breath when it’s going in.

Giving blood is something our family does. Our two daughters also started donating when they turned 18, and our son might be coming in soon too. I guess the philosophy of giving is that it’s a direct, impactful and easy way to help our fellow man. To make it fun and interactive, we have races to see who is the fastest in donating. It’s not like we have any control over it or anything, but it makes for some fun conversation. My husband Chris usually beats me though as my average time is around 7 and his is 6. My fastest time is just over 4 and a half minutes. I either drank a lot of water that day or the nurse hit a gold mine of a vein!

The Charity Donation Condundrum …. solved?

mares of diomedes

I get the feeling that artists are finally willing to stand up for themselves and not be bullied or “shamed” (you expect to be paid? but this is for charity!) in to donating their art, and I think that they would almost jump at any effort from non profits and businesses actually respecting their work as a valuable commodity… obviously it is valuable enough that their work is constantly requested for a silent auction or other fundraising project.

This is a problem that I feel personally invested in, and I’m trying to establish a win win scenario for all involved.  I think I have found a way it can be done

The Proposal
It’s been a common goal of many businesses that they become more involved and invested in their local arts and culture.  At the same time, I am suggesting that the non profit approach the idea of art in silent auctions or art in their fundraising schemes, in a different way.  Here it is:  they ask their favourite business to choose their favourite artist(s) and buy an artwork from them, then donating that work to their charity.

The Benefits
What would be the benefit to the business and the charity?  Bragging rights of donating, bragging rights of supporting (really supporting as in $$) the local art scene, being able to pinpoint a favourite artist,  plus they get their tax receipt for their purchase price from the organization supported by the receipt from the artist (why this is important will be explained in a minute). Because they are invested, they share this with their business partners and customers, boosting the event’s promotion, and the charity gains the exposure it so desperately needs.  The artist and the artwork is respected.  It becomes important for that business’ donated work to get a higher bid. I can’t see how this would fail. It just needs to be championed and done!

Better than nothing, you say?
There is a misconception that perhaps the artwork was originally purchased  by someone and then donated to the charity for auctioning off.  Nine point nine times out of ten, this is not the case.  Charities who ask for work from artists  expect it to be given for free, and we artists are expected to be honoured to be asked. (We aren’t.) Oh, but there is a reserve, and the artist gets paid 50 or 60 or 70% of the money coming in. What does that work out to, really?  50% of 30% of an artwork’s value… you tell me.  It’s better than nothing, some people say.  I say, artists, hold out for the brass ring, and keep a reserve all right … reserve your work for those who really respect it.  There is no one strong arming you, and they came to you.  Be the apple at the top of the tree.

Remember the point about a receipt?

Canada Revenue also recently changed the guidelines for cultural donations. Quite frankly, it does not do artists or investors any favours. Normally, for cultural institutions such as public galleries, art is not purchased from the artist, it is donated by the artist, and or donated by the patron.  The quick and dirty on that new CRA guideline is that artworks considered Cultural Property donated to Art Galleries and such, may be given a taxation receipt, but that receipt must be the value of what that patron paid for it, regardless of how many years ago.  So that means is if an Emily Carr, for example, bought by Mr Z in 1960 for 20,000$ is donated to the local gallery, Mr Z will get a receipt for 20,000$, regardless if that Emily Carr was worth 2.5 million today.

Changes such as what CRA did for 2014 really highlights the necessity of creating clean donations.  I would not be surprised to see CRA do audits on non profits, and really question why they are giving receipts to artists for their donation of artwork, when their artwork is getting less than 30% of the market value.  I might be naive, but I really think there are businesses out there who don’t want to do what was always done, and who are looking at a way to become personally invested in the local art scene, and perhaps support some local organizations at the same time.  I’d be interested in connecting with these businesses, so if you are one of them, send me a note.

Donation for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show

Donation to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association for 2710$ from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show, in memory of Tracie Ward.

I will post up / update this a bit later, but for now here is the photo:

Donation to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association for 2710$ from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show, in memory of Tracie Ward.
Donation to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association for 2710$ from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show, in memory of Tracie Ward.

This is a clean donation (ie not raised from any art auction) of cash to the Hospice Association. I donated a third of all the proceeds from the Opening Night Tickets to the Okanagan Erotic Art Show. It was a brilliant night, full of people who loved art, and who wanted to have fun.

The Butterfly Effect – A Day for Hospice

To see the full work in progress, please visit the album on my Facebook page:

July-21-Hospice-Event at the Lavender Farm in Kelowna Julia Trops Peacock
The start of the Peacock for the Lavender Farm Butterfly Effect Hospice Fundraiser. Of the two stones, I used the one on the right.
Julia Trops Peacock Stone Lavender Farm Fundraiser Hospice Okanagan
Work in progress. Photograph by Patrick Wilkins from Organic Studios You can kinda see my eyes.
Julia Trops, brazilian soapstone, sculpture, lavender farm, hospice association
The rock itself sits in front of the plant, and the plant itself is alive, so it gets a new plant every year. Can be moved around, etc.
Julia Trops, brazilian soapstone, sculpture, lavender farm, hospice association
Copper feathers to place in the plant, complete with the eye…
Peacock Julia Trops Lavender Farm Hospice Fundraiser
The peacock went for $500 I was told. I think he looks great! Thank you to Annabel for sending the pics, done by Kirstin Wakal

(The Arts) define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation

“The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.”

― Michelle Obama

(The Arts) Define who we are...
“(The Arts) Define who we are…” Michelle Obama”

What will the next generation say about the non profits who approach artists of all types, and with a tug on the heart strings, request artists to donate their art for their cause, without recompense? What will the next generation say about the artists who give in for the illusion of “helping”, or “exposure” and the dream of “promotion”?

I would like to see a statement by those people who support the non profits, and who also support the Arts, whether it is music, art or drama, by standing up and saying to these non profits “you will see no more of my funds until you pay the artists and give them the respect they deserve”….

Is that a dream? Maybe. But I am a dreamer, and I believe it can be so.

Who would you like to see?

No real foundation for art worth in our current economy

Just reading through Sylvia White’s blog article about the difference between LA and New York. She is very clear and the answer is very simple. Art is valued in New York, and the reasoning is because of awareness, attitude and education. Seems simple enough.  Here is the full article: Apples and Oranges: The L.A. vs. New York Question

Even though this article was written in 1995, I find that the problems and the solutions! are still pertinent today:

This is not necessarily our fault, of course, but we do suffer the cumulative
effects of our indifference to the sagging (non-existent) state of the current
art market. We have not properly educated our collectors, for example. Therefore,
when the investment value of art is gone, the market evaporates because
no real foundation exists to sustain it. ….

Artists must assume the responsibility for education their dealers and collectors by speaking
intelligently about their own work. One of the great advantages of collecting
contemporary art, after all, is that artist is still alive, available for
discussion. Artists can no longer sit back and take the attitude that the
work speaks for itself Take the time to articulate your reasons for working,
your influences, your sources, and so on. Develop a firm foundation in art
history so that you can realistically assess the ways in which your work
fits in the current scene. Create dialogues with other artists in order
to hone your skills at expressing yourself. If you feel incapable of doing
this, hire a writer to spend time with you in your studio, developing an
artist’s’ statement.

I read this with interest. I had always firmly avoided doing an artist statement, and while I do understand that the artist statement in itself is a method of education, I had always been turned off by those who write statements that require the average person a dictionary in order to read it. I think that has also contributed to the lack of education of collectors. I think the assumption could have been that the art is good if the statement is high minded. I would rather be read and confirmed intelligent, than be read and assumed so.

In our own area, the Okanagan, the local artists give away so much work (it seems to me) that I do not wonder about the lack of investment value for the local population. Artists, if you are reading this, consider cutting down the amount you give away, or else, consider doing gift certificates or very small pieces max retail value of $300 such as I am doing now. If people can no longer get your work for free, you will have contributed to the education and awareness of collectors understanding that art costs to make – in skill, time and money and each piece is the culmination of your life experience. Could you have done that same piece 5 years ago? If you value your work, others will too.

Paper Girl Kelowna and West Kelowna

From my friend Sarah….
Hello Dear Artist Friends…:O)…

I am excited to announce that, Papergirl Kelowna 2011, will be happening mid October, with the event itself being held at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, Kelowna.
Papergirl Kelowna is an art project which involves artists donating artwork to be given freely away to members of the public. The Papergirl aspect involves riders on bicycles cycling out into the community and giving several rolled up pieces of art to random members of the community for free. It offers the opportunity for people to be exposed to and experience art in a very unique and personal way. As a participant last year I witnessed first hand the happiness and exhilaration that was experienced by this generosity.
Before the actual donation takes place we exhibit the art and host an event party showcasing local musicians.
In sending this to you, we hope you will support us with an art donation. We ask for rollable art, prints or originals, photographs, written word, art cards, or rollable textiles. The quantity is not limited as the more art we recieve, the more we can give.
As a participant, we will promote you on our website and display your work at the event. You may also include your artist statement and photograph. We also encourage you to write a message to the recipient on the back of your art.
We are really looking forward to this year, we collected over 600 pieces of art last year and hope to raise at least 1000 this time around. We were also happy to welcome art from people throughout the globe.
We have 2 submission locations…
The New Moon Gallery, 1B-2525 Dobbin Rd, West Kelowna, BC, V4T 2GI
and Studio 113, The Rotary Centre for the Arts, Cawston Ave, Kelowna, BC V1Y 621.
Please protect your packages (flat works best) and address to Papergirl Kelowna. Closing date October the 7th.
We appreciate early donations..:O).
Visit our website for more information, photographs, and videos of last years event.
Please feel free to share with other artists, and art groups.
Please contact Sarah at if you have any questions.
Thank You.
An invitation to the event will be forwarded in the near future.

Current art and artwork donations -2011

I try and help out my community when I can – the focus lately has been the art galleries, but there are causes here and there that I want to contribute to, so I do. For non art galleries, I now give Gift Certificates with a minimum bid of 50% – so $50 on $100.

Quite frankly I am tired of people low balling in silent auctions and getting valuable items for almost nothing. That is not the purpose of a fundraiser.

So if you attend fundraisers, please remember why you are there, bid that extra $20.

Donations for 2011:

UBCO Art on the Line – 3 works (~$1000)

Okanagan Arts Awards – $100 GC

RCMP Cops for kids – 1 work ($400)

Cool Arts – $100 GC

Gallery Vertigo and Almost Famous – 3 works (~$500)

Kelowna Art Gallery – 1 work ($500)

Kamloops Art Gallery – 3 works (~$1000)

Vernon Art Gallery – 3 works ($800)

Canadian Cancer Society Breast Cancer Research (as Okanagan Erotic Art Show) ~$500

Kelowna Museums Society – $100 GC

Rotary Centre for the Arts – $500 artwork

If you would like me to donate something to your cause, I am happy to do so. Send me a note. My policy is for non-art galleries, it is a $100 gift certificate, with a $50 minimum bid. Or you can purchase an artwork and I will donate an artwork of equal value to your event. The ability to receive a receipt for taxes is  required.