I've been lurking in the cheap seats as this thread evolved and want to go back to the cartoon that Bruce posted at the start. There are some harsh realities in that cartoon that too many of us have experienced...we may laugh at the illustration because we have been on the receiving end of this narrative, but the reality isn't very funny.
I would be a wealthy man if everything that I donated to a charity in the past actually resulted in "great exposure"...or even a modicum of sales. In more recent years, my response to some (well meaning) person who begins the "great exposure" pitch for their auction/charity/fundraiser, is to let them know:
1. that I really prefer to choose the charities that I wish to support
2. I support those charities because I share their passion for their cause and have a relationship with the people involved
3. I do not take advantage of the charity in order to "gain exposure"
4. The charities do not take advantage of my generosity with "great exposure" promises/expectations that they cannot keep.
The "great exposure" pitch may not be complete bunk, but it is certainly an unrealistic sales-pitch-expectation that twists the artist's arm. Without exception, the clay artists that I know are socially conscious and generous (to a fault) people. When/if the day arrives when I hear, "Hey, I want to buy more of your work because you gave something for the XYZ charity event", I will be more than happy to turn my cynicism volume down a notch.
...stepping down from soapbox,
Sometimes when you add up the donations they cost more than you might think. I donated my time for years doing sets for the HS. I received a $500 dollar stipend. The hours I put in were after school from 4-10 4-5 days a week for 5-6 months out of the year for two shows. I did not eat dinner, as I had kids working, went home, ate and went to bed. 10 years of this, and I really liked doing it, but it probably was a contributing factor to fatigue, and poorer health in my late fifties that contributed to my T2 diabetes. Donating time when working full time jobs can be more costly than you might think, especially when it dangers your health. Nowadays, I try very hard to eat properly, get lots of sleep and watch my overall health. As potters working studio full time you should all do the same. It was interesting that much of Mark Shapiro's comments were about moving around in the studio, using tables of proper heights, using standing and sitting wheels, and using the body to brace and center as much as the muscles.
So be careful of "time" donations.
Relate heaps to both Pres and Paul ......same trap happens in the community arts field.......good feelings, lousy money!!!
Worked in the community arts field for nearly 9 years, helping disadvantaged groups recognise and develop their innate creative skills, learn micro-business skills, access online and on-site sales opportunities, promote themselves and their work to their community peers......fundamentally, change their identity trap from 'disadvantaged person' to 'small business person'...............all very noble I'm sure and in truth probably a 'good' way to be in the world too........except that I did this while waiting for my own arts career to 'take off' and
....as Pres said the costs in time, money, resources and just plain thinking about how to make it work for them left me in a 24 hour period with a lot LESS time, money, resources and just plain brain space to make it work for my own career
.... and like Paul's post, it was very low paid and the 'carrot' in this arrangement was for city-wide promotion and exposure....good thing for any artist except it turned out to be exposure for the groups successes and government 'generosity' and not me, the artist. I was later replaced by other artists for each group to maintain the models I developed while I went on to start the next. Eventhough I still believe in it, I left community arts about 12 months ago to completely focus on my own career now.
It's like Pres and Paul say.... many good reasons and intentions for who and why we would 'give' our hard earned training and experience away but in the end its the money that pays the bills just like any other job, so the 'salary package' needs to be upfront in our thinking just like in any other job too