Interview with Kevin Miyazaki of collect.give by MK MeadorSeptember 8th, 2010
I interviewed Kevin Miyazaki the photographer and founder of the altruistic art site collect.give to find out more about the program and the artists involved. The site introduces Kevin as “based in Milwaukee, shoots regularly in nearby Chicago and travels often (for love + work) to St. Louis.” As of last week, Kevin reports that his effort with collect.give have raised over $11,000 for 22 unique charities. The following are a few questions that Mr. Miyazaki was kind enough to answer for me about his work with collect.give.
How did you start collect.give? Who else was involved and in what capacity?
The idea was something I’d been thinking about for a while. And just before last Thanksgiving, I was considering offering a print for sale on my blog, with the proceeds going to charity. So the idea resurfaced, and within a matter of two weeks, we were up and running – we launched on December 2, 2009. The website is really a portal, so the participating photographers do all the real work – they take orders through PayPal, print and ship their work, and make the donations to their selected charities.
What brought about the genesis of the site? What personal experiences informed or inspired this program?
The site is inspired by the increasing presence and reach of the photography world online, and also by the success of established gallery websites like Jen Bekman’s 20×200.
What I find exciting and empowering is the idea of donating a fairly significant amount of money – artists, at least the ones I know, are not wealthy individuals. The photographers set their edition size and print price, but the average is $40-50, with editions are usually sized at 20. So the photographers can pledge $800-1000, which is more than most of us could consider donating outright. And to help publicize the good works of an organization you specifically believe in is the added benefit. Artists are always asked to donate works for benefits – and while there’s nothing wrong with this, of course, this is a more personal way to give.
Another exciting aspect is the collective nature of the group as a whole. Each new print by a photographer brings new collectors, friends and family to the site, and that cumulative effect is important. To date, we’ve had over 30,000 visits to the site and raised nearly $12,000. Even if people don’t buy a print while visiting collect.give, they learn about the good work being done at a wide range of smaller non-profits. So the individual photographer’s contribution is really helping many organizations.
Who were the first artists involved? What criteria is involved in their selection?
The photographers at the launch of the site were Dalton Rooney, Emily Shur, Susana Raab, John Loomis and Allison V. Smith. All were photographers who I knew primarily through email, and whose work I really admired. An important commonality was that all were active bloggers who had a strong following, and could therefore spread the word widely. It’s also an internet savvy group, and I think everyone understood the potential of the idea.
Since the launch, I’ve invited the participating artists. I have a long list of photographers I admire, so it’s really a pleasure to make the invitations. And I’ve found that, when asked, the photographers usually know exactly who they’d like to pledge their donations towards.
Is there a Chicago connection among the photographers represented?
In addition to Jane Fulton Alt, we also featured a print by Chicago photographer Dave Jordano, which has recently sold out.
Jane Fulton Alt: http://www.janefultonalt.com/
Jonathan Blaustein: http://www.jonathanblaustein.com/
John Loomis: http://www.johnloomis.com/
Annie Marie Musselman: http://www.anniemusselman.com/
Susana Raab: http://susanaraab.com/
Dalton Rooney: http://daltonrooney.com/
Emily Shur: http://www.emilyshur.com/
Allison V. Smith: http://www.allisonvsmith.net/
For more information, please visit www.collectdotgive.org.
Kevin’s photography sites are: www.reduxpictures.com and www.kevinmiyazaki.blogspot.com