Fundraising Ideas for an Art Center

by Sharon Penn; Updated July 27, 2017
Art auctions, performances and wine tastings are appropriate for art center fundraisers.

Thinking up ideas to bring in money for an art center can be fun. Events such as an art auction, wine tasting and dinner theater are a good fit for an art center, and can bring in the big bucks for the cause. After forming a committee, allow ample planning time and produce enough publicity to make the event a success.

Art Auction

To stage an art auction, research professional art auction companies that provide high quality watercolors, original oil paintings, lithographs, animation cells and sculpture. Include reproductions of crowd-pleasing works to provide an affordable alternative for participants. Opening bids can be as low as 30 percent to 50 percent less than retail gallery prices. Typically the art auction house will provide an inviting display for guests to peruse the artwork an hour or two before the auction. Art is presented at auction at a predetermined minimum bid and sold to the highest bidder. Custom framing may be included.

Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

Find a location that will provide a private room for your group and that also features good food. Using a local inn as the venue for the event can add interest. The dining room should seat enough people to generate enough profit to make the event worthwhile. The restaurant may be willing to work with you to provide a package deal for dinner, wine and dessert. To lower the cost of the murder mystery dinner theater event, consider selling advertising space on the menu. Carefully tally up all expenses and set the price of the ticket at double the cost of the event per person to make a nice profit for the art center.

Wine Tasting

Another sophisticated fund-raising event suitable for an art center is a wine tasting. Often a wine distributor or wine merchant will be willing to provide the wine as a promotion. Rely on the provider's expertise to make the selections for the event and to provide information to the participants. Include some fine wines that people would not ordinarily order. Arrange to purchase the wines at a discount or have all or some wines donated for the charitable event. An outdoor garden in suitable weather, an upscale hotel, a museum or, preferably, the art center itself can provide a stylish setting for the wine tasting. A jazz band or string quartet can add to the event.

Celebrity Performance

Celebrities may be willing to perform to benefit an art center in exchange for positive publicity. Try to entice a well-known singer or comic who would like to participate in generating money for a good cause. If this proves difficult, ask a local band or a performer just starting out in the business. Charity events such as this can lead to exposure for the performer and eventually other engagements. With perseverance and a little luck, you can sign a performer for your charity event. Publicize the event by sending out a press release and inform people on social networking sites.

About the Author

Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.

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