As a gallery owner and a potter, I am asked at least 2 to 3 times a month to donate artwork/pottery. My wife is also an artist (painter). We feel that giving your work away has little to no exposure value and in fact, devalues your work. We do donate to a few select charities, but instead of giving artwork, we give gift certificates for classes. This brings people into the studio/gallery and on many occasions, they bring friends (paying students) to take the class with them, or they purchase artwork when they attend the class.
There are other options to donating.
We have organized auction events for charities and have the artist set the minimum bids for their artwork. Each artist is then paid their normal consignment (50% of the sale price) for the sold items. Our gallery then makes a cash donation (tax deductible) of the amount of our consignment fee. If the work receives no bids at the minimum, it is returned to the artist. This arrangement provides money to the charity and compensates the artist for their work. Win - Win!!!
Two weeks ago I participated in an art charity function and along with several other artists, displayed some of my work. The charity sold several pieces and they kept a 35% commission. I was paid the balance. Good exposure. Made some nice sales. Got a ticket and enjoyed some nice food and wine. The charity made money on the artist's commissions and ticket sales. Win-Win!!
I encourage artists to assist local charities to structure events that provide at least some compensation to the artist. Patrons are then supporting the charity and the local art community.
Regarding tax deductions, the IRS rules are very clear. If you want a tax deduction, sell the pottery and donate cash.
Morehead City, NC