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Instagram Auctions Allow Artists to Enact Change

"Care" by Alela Diane for Still We Rise

With so much happening in America’s society today, it can feel overwhelming and difficult to navigate ways to help causes you support. For organizations such as Artists Take Action and Still We Rise, Instagram is an outlet through which a network of change can be established.

i+s encourages readers to find groups which support causes you care about, but if you’re looking for ideas on how to get started, these are groups editor-in-chief Kadie Yale supports (and bids through).

“I found both Artists Take Action and Still We Rise through Instagram posts of artists and designers I follow,” Yale elaborates. In fact, she found out about Artists Take Action when Jaime Derringer, artist and founder of Design Milk and the Clever podcast, donated one of her works to the June 2018 auction. “It’s no secret that I fan-girl a bit over what Jaime is doing and that I love both Design Milk and Clever. When I saw she had a piece up for auction, I had to learn more about the organization.”

How These Organizations Began

Both Artists Take Action and Still We Rise were created in response to President Donald Trump and his administration’s policies as a way to combat what the founders saw as injustices and in a desire to do more.

“This project was born on November 9, 2016, the day after the election,” says Lisa Solomon, founder of Artists Take Action, who did not provide her last name. “I am a mom and a working artist. That morning I woke up and I didn’t want to feel helpless. I wanted to contribute to non-profits and organizations that were going to need support, now more than ever, in the upcoming months. But I also figured I’m just one person, and while I’m incredibly fortunate, I don’t have the kind of funds to make big donations to causes I believe in. I wondered if other artist friends felt similarly.”

For Lindsay Meyer-Harley, founder of Still We Rise, the call was equally strong. “I knew I had to do more than shout at my television or march in the streets. I knew I could gather my community of like-minded shops, brands, artists, and makers to do something about [the president’s “assault on many populations in this country.”] The Still We Rise community was born in April 2017, and we are currently in the middle of our 5th auction!”


How It Works

The way Instagram auctions work is simple:

  • Follow the organization’s Instagram account (@artiststakeaction and @_stillwerise).
  • An auction is announced along with the FAQ and rules.
  • A product or piece of art is posted with a starting bid.
  • Throughout the length of the auction, bids are placed in the comments section of the post. To bid, comment with an amount higher than the current highest bidder.
  • For each organization, the ways in which the highest bidder pays for the item is different, although for both Still We Rise and Artists Take Action, the winning bidder is asked to make a direct donation in the amount bid to the intended organization.  

Where Proceeds Go

Bidders should feel confident that their money is going towards a worthy cause.

“Each auction we highlight 2-3 organizations,” explained Meyer-Harley in response to how Still We Rise handles bids. “100-percent of the money goes directly [to the organization(s) since the winning bidder donates the winning amount themselves. So far we’ve raised money and awareness for ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, NRDC, Planned Parenthood, Texas Civil Liberties Project, RAICES, MOMS Demand, Emily’s List, and Everytown.”

Winners similarly donate directly to the organization chosen by the participating artists for Artists Take Action’s auctions. “All nine artists vote and help choose the charity we support monthly,” said Lisa.

“I always check the charity ratings of any organizations we support—this is very very important to me. I also am always looking for smaller organizations. We have supported some big ones, like the ACLU and Meals on Wheels, but I like the idea of a place where $500 can really make a difference.”

How You Can Get Involved

Of course, bidding is always a great way to participate. “I’ve bid on pieces auctioned on both Still We Rise and Artists Take Action,” says Yale. “I feel confident with the way both organizations are handled. And while I’d love to be the winner, I’m always overjoyed when I’m outbid. No one ‘loses’ when more funds are going to support organizations.”

If you have more time on your hands or would like to participate in a greater way, look into donating your own artwork or products to the cause by checking out the community guidelines.

Artists Take Action: artiststakeaction.tumblr.com/faq.

                Still We Rise: stillwerisecommunity.com/

Additionally, Meyer-Harley suggests finding ways to help organizations you support in your own community. “Create something in your own community. Get your neighboring businesses and friends involved. Have a community bake sale; every little bit helps. There are many organizations out there fighting hard for a list of causes worth supporting. Find a few you love, research what they do, and raise money for them. Share on your social media, with friends, family, etc. Get the word out!”