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Posts Tagged ‘kickstarter’

We’ve all been in the position where we’re considering a project of some sort and we’re trying to figure out where the money will come from. Sometimes it’s as simple as figuring out the framing for an exhibit. Other times it’s trying to figure out how to support yourself while you work on a project that will not bear fruit for a year or so.

One time-honored method is to apply for a grant. These are available through private arts and charitable foundations as well as state, local and federal arts councils. They usually involve a fair amount of paperwork and often rely on the decision of a small number of people. They may not even be appropriate for your funding needs.

More recently some artists have turned to “crowd sourcing” through sites like Kickstarter and USA Projects. They are seeking funding to record their first album, put on their first solo exhibition, attend a residency program or fund a production run. The funding comes through lots of small donors or investors with varying levels of participation which include rewards. It’s fascinating that a Kickstarter project last year raised over $100,000 for an installation in Israel. Of more than 700 donors, more than 400 of them donated less than $100 each.

USA Projects works in a similar way. Although it is limited to arts funding and is organized a bit differently, it still raises funds through a relatively large number of small to medium donations instead of one large grant. A friend of mine, Caleb Cole, is going through USA Projects to raise funding to print a hard cover book of the photos in his “Other People’s Clothes” series.  I think the part I like the most about these sites is that I can make a difference for an artist by contributing to an important project and I can be part of that work, even if I only have $25, $50 or $100 to invest today in another artist’s future.

Is “crowd sourcing” the wave of the future for art funding? Maybe. Only time will tell. If you have experience with any of these sites, please let me know what you think.

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