State arts funding is down for the second year in a row, and the severe recession has turned many struggling artists into full-time job seekers with little or no time to pursue their passion. So what’s an aspiring or emerging painter, novelist, filmmaker to do?
Well, for one, they can become fans of the Wealthy Patrons for the Arts group on Facebook. The group’s description:
This group is to inspire those with means to collect art from galleries and artists. Example: Instead of spending $ 3 million for 2 paintings at an auction house, just think of the trickle down if you do this. Go to an art town, like Taos. Go on a shopping spree and spend that million. Buy hundreds of artists. The artists, galleries, framers, shippers, local business’ etc will all benefit ( and love you for it ), not just the auction house and the seller….
Sounds like a great idea. But if your project remains stuck in the, uh, conceptual phase, languishing for lack of resources, then you’re in need of another avenue of funding. That’s where Kickstarter comes in. This site describes itself as a funding platform where artists can post proposals and ask for donations in return for “products, services or other benefits.” For example:
A hot-air balloon ride to the first person to pledge $300, an invitation to the BBQ for anyone who pledges more than $5, exclusive daily video updates for anyone who pledges more than $1. It’s up to each project creator to sculpt their own offers and there’s lots of cool ways to do it.
The FAQ further explains that funding is all or nothing:
…money is collected only if a project reaches or exceeds its funding goal before time expires. If a project’s funding goal is $5,000 and only $4,999 is pledged when time expires, no money is collected. Zip, zero. Also, no rewards will be delivered. No funding, no rewards. Everyone walks away as if nothing happened.
This may sound like a dubious proposition: pledging money to a stranger over the Internet so he can finish his graphic novel, for example. But by golly, graphic novelist Jamie Tanner has already attracted 86 backers and $5744 to complete his follow-up to “The Aviary,” an Eisner Award-nominated book. Tanner offers a tiered system of pledge rewards: From the blank sketchbook/journal you receive for an $8 donation all the way up to character naming rights for those who contribute $500 or more.
Other popular proposals include those for a detective novel, a documentary about Mr. Rogers, and “Camp Snipesville,” which is best left to a verbatim description:
Directed by historian and author Dr. Annette Laing, Camp Snipesville involves lots of make-believe: Kids pretend to be in a small Southern town called Snipesville (the name comes from Annette’s series of time-travel novels, The Snipesville Chronicles.) Snipesville is an unusual place, in which the past repeatedly interrupts the present with time-travel “moments”, in which kids meet costumed characters from history. At Camp Snipesville: Victorian Adventures, held in our atmospheric Edwardian arts center in Statesboro, kids imagined themselves as factory workers, schoolchildren, and even slaves. We visited a house museum in Savannah (a first for many of the kids), and they had a surprise encounter with slaves at a historic farmhouse.
Each proposal is accompanied by a video pitch and examples of the creator’s work. For all the projects that have been fully funded and then some, check out the site’s “Successful” section.
This is a cool idea, and if you’re feeling generous and/or creative-broke, Kickstarter should be a worthwhile destination in your Web travels. Check it out.