Trend in arts fundraising – Kickstarter to the rescue

I received two missives from two artists today, both of whom are now fundraising on Kickstarter for art projects that will be in Philadelphia.  I love that there’s a trend in fundraising.  For artists!  Looking back in my emails I found several more Kickstarter projects as well. While it’s never easy to raise money this site seems to offer a simple easy solution — if you have a project they like.

Somatic Natural History Archive
Karl Cronin, Somatic Natural History project, where he enacts the characteristics of endangered species.

Kickstarter is a DIY fundraising platform online for small projects. If the project is approved by Kickstarter (you have to apply and be invited to be one of their projects) and if your project meets its fundraising goal then Kickstarter takes 5% from the total funds raised — that’s it.  The money is collected through credit cards and processed by Amazon, not Paypal.  If you don’t meet your fundraising goal then the project doesn’t charge the pledgers’ credit cards and the project just doesn’t get funded. (Sounds like setting a reasonable dollar amount in a reasonable amount of time is the best goal.) The site is four months old and the projects are pretty interesting, from dedicated art projects that won’t necessarily save the world to things that will definitely benefit the community.

Here’s three projects to check out and donate to (you can pledge $1 if you want), the two involving Philly, and another interesting one that was emailed to me recently:


Project Janky by Lee Tusman. Tusman was a Philly artist of hand-made t-shirt quilts, and he’s now in Riverside, CA. He wants to publish a zine/album. He’ll be touring the zine-album with a release party in places all over including Philly. Many of the photographers/artists/musicians featured in the project are from Philly, he says. Tusman’s only got another $450 to go to achieve his fundraising goal.

LOVETOWN PA by Gene Schmidt is a conceptual word art piece in which the artist will display big wooden letter tiles (think Scrabble) that spell out the text from St. Paul’s letter about love ( “…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” etc).  Schmidt has a videographer and photographer who will document him putting up words around town.  He will re-use the letters (Scrabble again) and if I understand the gist, the letters will be up in fragmentary phrases and then will disappear as the artist moves through the city with his message of love. All will be made clear at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in July where the artist will exhibit the tiles and documentation.  Schmidt is an artist who uses play in his works to refer to much larger issues.  Here he’s all about love.  Back in 2002 he showed some Bingo cards at Pentimenti Gallery that were completely cosmic and about the magical mystery of numbers. Here’s what I wrote about that show for the Weekly.  Schmidt’s fundraising goal is a steep $15,000.  He’s on his way with many dollars more to go.

Karl Cronin’s Somatic Natural History project will create an archive of endangered species as interpreted through Cronin’s performance of the species’ characteristics.  Check out Cronin’s video to see the artist enacting trees, a rock, and amber waves of grain!