Wednesday, January 16, 2008

art consulting, an exhibition nightmare, philanthropy, and the artleague's 41st Annual Patrons' Show Fundraiser

On February 17, 2008, the Alexandria artleague will host their 41st Annual Patrons' Show Fundraiser. Tickets for this unbelievable frenzy of art excitement and enthusiasm are $175 each and are available in The Art League Gallery. The price of entry enables a ticket holder to select a work of art (donated by notable artists) via a highly-charged-you-can-hear-a-pin-drop-nervous-anticipation lottery system held the evening of the event. I've seen people laugh over beating out their neighbors on a particular work, I've seen the neighbor quietly wipe a tear from their eye; it's that kind of festive competition among patrons.

Sometimes the universe has a funny way of working things out that one might never have connected. For example, even the most established art advisor or art consultant sometimes just plain gets it wrong. Recently, Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory showcased a series of high quality, original nature photographs at a large exhibition venue. Nothing sold. I know, I know - this is not unusual. But not only did nothing sell from our booth, nothing sold from any of the artists' booths. The event was just the wrong venue. Just too early after the holidays. Just filled with people who were seeking information and education and who were not in the art acquisition mindset.

I know because we, being conscientious mentors, gallerists (of a sort), and arts promoters went to the event two separate times to oversee the activities. We had everything pre-planned according to tried and true formulas that normally work for art exhibitors. A variety of price points, works in different sizes, plenty of marketing materials, a clean and unique display style. Oh, LOTS of people stopped, looked, and considered - but no sales. And in this case, the sales would have gone to support a young, rising artist's endeavors - so our hearts were in it for her to succeed. Failure. Yes, it doesn't only knock on YOUR door and it's just as ugly when it's at ours.

So here we were down-hearted and schlepping all this beautiful work back to our office where the photographs sat in a bulky box prudently screaming, "Yes, we are still here!" Low and behold, at the Jill Bank's "Place Settings" opening the other night, we stumbled across the floor plan for seating arrangements at the upcoming Patrons' Fundraiser (with most sections already being sold out). Whoa! Like magic came not only an opportunity to re-show some of our poignant and introspective works, but also to support a vital arts center, and to demonstrate something truly gorgeous - philanthropy.

Artists and arts professionals don't have to be in the company of the likes of any of the super-wealthy and super-connected to demonstrate simple goodwill in an active effort to promote human welfare. Philanthropy is your gift. And in our opinion, as art advisors and consultants, when you're gift-ed, there's even more of an onus to share it. Sure, we miss out on the revenue. Sometimes though, philanthropic giving has a way of opening doors when windows close - and that goes for all involved in a transaction.

In 2008, Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory hopes to work and live in a collaborative attitude of grateful abundance. There IS more than enough to go around, enough art exhibiting opportunities, enough gracious art patrons, and enough corporate art sponsors. That's why we take our exhibition nightmare and our art consulting trials and tribulations and try to turn them into someone else's enjoyment and good. Support your local arts organizations and if you are going to the artleague's Patrons' Show, look for our quadruplet of fine photographic images similar to the nature detail work shown above. You'll have both a story and a set of one-of-a-kind works to add to your art collection.