The Art Connection program works with qualified public and nonprofit agencies as venues for the placement of donated art, and the works of art then become the property of the agencies. For the program to be successful, agency outreach is critical in identifying appropriate organizations as well as agency contacts who are enthusiastic about and willing to put effort into this process.
Why Agencies Need Art
Organizations find that original artwork enlivens spaces and connects them to their constituents in profound ways. Through program evaluation, we know that recipient agencies need art for a number of reasons, including to:
- Enrich the lives of program participants
- Stimulate dialogue/healing/creativity/learning
- Create a more attractive and welcoming environment
- Boost the self-esteem of participants and staff
- Allow them to participate in a collaborative project
A variety of methods are used to identify nonprofit organizations that would qualify for and have an interest in the art donation and placement program:
- Agency Referrals (Peer-to-Peer Networking): Agencies that have received art are often the best avenues for reaching new agencies. JUST ASK! All agencies that receive art through our program are asked to refer another agency when they complete their Six Month Report post-placement.
- Create an Informative Plaque: People walking through an agency that has received art will see plaques with The Art Connection logo next to each work of art. Also create a plaque about your organization and include your contact information and require recipient agencies to hang this “master plaque” in a central location.
- Mailings and phone calls: In the beginning, The Art Connection mailed a questionnaire to 400 agencies to gauge their interest. To lend credibility to the project, Boston’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs was recruited to write a cover letter.
- Nonprofit Umbrella Groups: Communications with umbrella groups, presentations to umbrella groups, enlisting groups to promote our program in their materials.
- Promptly follow-up with every agency that requests information.
- PR: Newsletter, Press articles, TV spots, etc.
Potential recipients are invited to submit an application for art to The Art Connection. The agency packet includes but is not limited to:
- Welcome Cover Letter/Email
- Marketing materials ( Postcards, Newsletters, Press Article)
- Art Recipient FAQ’s
- Application Checklist
- Application to Receive Art
- Donee Agreement
- Art Donors List & Recipients of Art List
If the agency does not respond by completing the application within two months, we follow up with a phone call. Often, this reminder is effective, as most of the potential recipients are focused on their agency’s primary activities, not on receiving art. Reminders are generated through the database.
Other Potential Sources of Information
Many of these information sources should prove valuable in identifying potential nonprofit recipients of art within various communities:
- GuideStar/Idealist: These websites have a search function to find nonprofits by location
- Community Foundations (reports, listings of grantees)
- National/statewide foundations (United Way, American Red Cross, etc.)
- State and City government listings
- Chambers of Commerce
- City Human Services Directory
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW) local chapter
- Local universities, colleges, and libraries