This article is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. An emerging artist searching his way in the art world, he loves to share what he learns. With over 20 years of technology experience, Moshe combines his technological background and his passion for the arts with the goal of "working his dream". You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
With three more days to end 2011 and greet 2012, and continuing my tradition from last year of squeezing in just one more new technology before the year end, I want to discuss today Crowd Funding and how we can utilize it. Who knows, maybe this will give you your next great idea for 2012?
What is Crowd Funding?
Crowd Funding is a way to collectively get financial support for a project from “the crowd” rather than from individual investors. Each individual in the crowd gives a small portion of the required support, without attaining any ownership in the supported project. Instead, the project’s producer sells some incentives to the funders, such as products produced via the project. The funding crowd can be of any size, but the bigger it is, the higher social approval to the project.
With the nature of today’s online activities, it is of no surprise that several websites are now running Crowd Funding projects, mainly leader Kickstarter, but also sites such as IndieGoGo and RocketHub. Each offers quite similar set of functionalities, with some differences in their surcharge fees etc.
Do visual artists use Crowd Funding?
Oh yes, they are. I have found some fabulous ways on these sites for visual artists to develop their artwork and art marketing efforts. Lets have a look at few of these examples:
Example 1: Support an art collective for one year
Luck You Art Collective from New York, NY, a group of 17-19 years old artists, raised more than $16,000 back in December 2010. Their goal was to raise $15,000, and by the end of the pledging period, with 98 backers, the group received 107% support to their project. With the raised funds, the group planned to improve their studio, have 4 shows in 2011, offer workshops, and overall improve the resources available for the collective.
In return, the backers, who could choose from 12 different support tiers (ranging from $1 to $1000 support range), received official collective T-shirts, limited edition prints of varied sizes from the collective’s artists and original artwork on canvas. Each support tier has its reward level. See the project here.
Example 2: Art Calendar publication
Artist Patrick Gannon created amazing paper cut artwork for the 12 months, but needed couple of thousand dollars to produce it into a professional looking calendar. By November 22nd he had 77 backers, who supported his project and pre-ordered, via their pledges, copies of the calendar. Overall, Gannon received 131% support for this project. See the project here.
Example 3: A public art project
745 people wanted to see artist Molly Crabapple celebrating her 28th birthday locked in a hotel room for 5 days, covering the walls with paper and filling every inch of it with art. And, many of them received a cut-out piece of the artwork, signed by the artist. Her support level reached 573%, collecting $25,805 while having the goal of collecting merely $4,500! See the details of this project here.
And there are many more creative examples.
Is Crowd Funding for everyone?
Not everyone is successful in raising his or her goal funds. A successful bid, especially one that goes beyond its initial goal, indicates public acceptance of the idea and even shows the excitement other people see in your project. A failed bid, on the other hand, might mean there is not enough interest in your project, therefore it may not be worth pursuing. But, it could also mean that you didn’t put the right “sales” words behind your project to sell it properly. And, like with many other websites like that, the marketing efforts relies also on the project owners – by using their newsletters, email lists, social media etc.
I have found couple of blog posts by The Abundant Artists blog, describing in details how to utilize Crowd Funding, in two parts series (read Part 1 and Part 2), and they are great complimentary posts for this one, if you are interested to learn more.
What I would love to hear from you is whether you have ever used this method to fund one of your artistic projects, and if so, how was it?
If not, do you plan to do it in 2012?
With blessings for the new year to all,