Artists for something
by Robert Genn

March 10, 2009

Dear Rodney,

A group mailing arrived here yesterday. A young friend was asking for 
donations so he could quit his day job and get serious about painting. 
I told him to keep me informed of his impending cash flow. His request 
reminded me of a ne'er-do-well rock musician I once knew. When asked 
if he ever did fundraisers, he answered, "Only if they raise funds for 

It's easy for creative folks to get a feeling of entitlement. I've always 
thought there had to be something in it for the funder as well as the 
fundee. Advances on future performance have a way, like those notorious 
sub-prime loans, of non-performing. Grant-giving organizations know 
all about this.

What's better for creative folks is to dig around in their passions. 
Doesn't matter what these are--dancing, kayaking, figure skating, perch 
fishing, bird watching--as long as they're sincere. Passion builds 
connections. Enhancing the personal solvency of the passionate just 
happens to be a by-product.

Recently, I received a request from subscriber Jeffrey Whiting to join 
a collective movement called "Artists for Conservation." They charge 
you to get in. AFC is a significant way for artists to "support wildlife 
and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental 
education through art that celebrates our natural heritage." Right 
down my alley. Five hundred Signature Members from 27 countries are 
publishing wildlife art books, holding exhibitions and promoting knowledge.

It's invitational. Your work has to be up to scratch. But just hobnobbing 
with competent folks like Derek Wicks, Robert Bateman, Eva Van Rijn, 
Jay Johnson, Pablo Dominguez and Alison Nicholls would be worth the 
jury and the fees. To give you an idea of some of the work done by AFC 
members, we've put up a selection at the top of the current clickback.

No one likes the idea of sitting with a tin cup and a sign that says 
"I'm an artist. Feed me." Better to think about who we can feed. In 
this day and age there's a universe of possibilities. Believe me, when 
artists get into servicing their passions rather than shivering in the 
rain, good stuff happens.

Best regards,


PS: "We are a collective of like-minded artists who share a common 
mission." (Jeffrey Whiting, President and Founder of AFC)

Esoterica: The AFC is a not-for-profit foundation where members share 
expenses. You can get an idea of the full range of their activities 
by going to If you think someone owes you 
something, the Foundation is offering its 9th Flag Expedition Fellowship 
and a $5,000 grant for an artist to travel to a remote part of the world 
to study threatened species or habitats.