Earlier this year the celebrated artist Marina Abramovic raised $661,452 to build her dream project. She used Kickstarter (www.Kickstarter.com) to establish a project and invite supporters to become active participants. People paid attention because she is a major artist but Kickstarter has been funding artists’ projects since its inception in April, 2009.
Under recognized, emerging artists have launched projects. And, I can also tell you that unlike Marina Abramovic most campaigns range in the below $10,000 range. It is feasible to raise $5-6,000 in a matter of 6 weeks.
Although crowdfunding has grown in popularity, I think more artists should consider using this marketing strategy. If you launch a campaign it not only has the potential to raise necessary funds but it can also serve as an excellent proactive publicity campaign for you and your art project.
In 2010 I wrote an article for Professional Artist magazine: “Kickstart Your Creative Project”. In it I offered advice on how to develop a successful campaign using Kickstarter. I described it as a crowdfunding platform “that is revolutionizing the way creative people are funding their projects."
Since it started, Kickstarter has served as a platform for $800 million in pledges by more than 4 million people, funding more than 45,000 creative projects. In the Art category alone 10,739 projects have been launched and $30.73 million have been successful raised. These statistics change daily. If you’re interested in more statistics visit http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/categories/data?ref=help
Emergence of Several Crowdfunding Platforms
Suffice it to say, crowdfunding is here to stay and Kickstarter isn’t the only platform. Artists are choosing from several other crowdfunding platforms including Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and Hatchfund, to name a few, to successfully raise awareness and funding for their creative projects.
|Karen Fitzgerald, "Let's Become Like Birds," 48" diameter, oil with 23k gold, red gold, and mood gold on panel, 2013. Fitzgerald launched a successful campaign using Hatchfund.|
AIM Hatchfund www.hatchfund.org (formerly known as USA Projects) is a program created by United States Artists (USA), a nonprofit grantmaking and artist advocacy organization that has awarded over $17 million to America’s finest artists in the last six years.
Different than other crowdfunding resources, in order to qualify artists must be vetted by a recognized organization or one of AIM’s partners. Many artists have been invited by their peers, who are already artist members. Featured artists have been screened and are either USA Fellows or recipients of awards from a growing list of distinguished arts organizations across the country, such as NEA.
Karen Fitzgerald Launched A Successful Campaign on Hatchfund
For Karen Fitzgerald www.fitzgeraldart.com/, an active professional, when she was ready to launch her project "From The Core" she could rely on such organizations as the Queens Council on the Arts. She explains, "I've received funding from them on multiple occasions and I exhibited at The Queens Museum of Art in 1995."
Fitzgerald’s "From the Core" is "An illumination of the energies of consciousness that raise the human spirit." Her goal was to produce a new suite of round, gilded paintings that explore these energies. An exhibition was also part of the plan.
Her original goal was $7,500 and she achieved $8,330.00 by March 28, 2013. Karen said, "I had a whole budget. It was part of the coaching process, and we went over it in one of the phone calls we had, pre-launch of the project. The budget contained things like: what the $ would be spent on (for me, materials!); How much would the perks cost (including postage to mail them, that came in at $59.66). I included a line item for expenses related to the exhibition as well."
Karen started writing her project idea in October, had written the text of the draft in early January and launched it in February.
Karen says “Hatchfund is invaluable because when accepted you get a personal coach to help you get what you need. And, there are no commission fees."
Karen advises, "You have to work at your project." She put in 2-4 hours a day for 6 weeks. She explained “Hand written notes that I mailed generated the most returns. I also received support and world of mouth promotion through an artist’s organization I belong to.”
Be Willing to Put In the Time and Effort
Not all art projects that are launched on a crowdfunding platform are successful. And, this type of strategy does not work for every creative individual.
To launch a project in this fashion you will need to contribute time and effort. You will also need several items in place: A well-written project statement, strong database of supporters, and a good camera to record a video -- to name a few.
You must also be willing to get outside your comfort zone and ask everyone you know to support your project through financial donations and help spread the word about your project.
I suggest you first do the research. Visit the leading crowdfunding platforms that are mentioned above. Learn what the requirements are for each. Examine successful funding projects that are most similar to yours. If you're willing to put in the time and effort you may be delighted to reap many rewards. If you plan all of the stages properly you will succeed.