Where Have You Been All My Life? It's a Crowdfunding Lovefest!

Submitted by FreshArts on Tue, Mar 1st at 6:25 pm

There’s a new trend in fund raising and Houston’s jumping on board. It’s called crowd funding. Ever heard of it? If not, it’s about time you learned.


If you missed it last week, Spacetaker’s Executive Director Jenni Rebecca Stephenson updated her Heavy Artillery blog on Chron.com with an enlightening post about crowd funding and how it is invaluable for the arts. Here’s a snippet:


Why I think crowd funding is invaluable for the arts:
•    Every little bit helps. How often do you think twice about making a $10 donation because you doubt it's useful? Chances are, plenty. But whether one person gives $100 or ten people donate $10, it adds up.
•    It allows artists to take matters into their own hands. They don't have to wait for institutional gate-keepers to anoint them with funding. They can go directly to their friends, fans, patrons, etc. to seek support their projects.
•    Crowd-funding platforms like IndieGoGo work in tandem with other entities like Fractured Atlas to provide fiscal sponsorship of artist-driven projects. What does that mean? Simply put, it means artists don't have to divert their attention away from their art to obtaining official nonprofit status to apply to various funding sources.  Instead, Fractured Atlas provides a nonprofit umbrella for the project with financial oversight... and you get a tax-deduction when you donate. Win, win all the way around, right?
•    Crowd funding provides a forum for democratic support of good work. Interesting work is more likely to get noticed and funded. And this doesn't equate to commercial! Take a test drive around IndieGoGo and you'll notice that the projects run the gamut from the commercially viable to completely bizarre.
•    Less potential for waste: Rocco Landsmen (NEA Chairman) put his foot in his mouth when he suggested the exponential increase of arts nonprofits seems inappropriate given the waning demand. But he's not wrong about this. Fiscal sponsorship and crowd funding address this issue. 
•    It utilizes some of the same practices that are revolutionizing the way art is being consumed these days. Take our friends, Pamplamoose, for instance. The Houston Press wrote a great piece about how they've bucked the system, gone viral, and made a name for themselves. Their videos and covers aren't so different than what you see on some IndieGoGo campaigns. If not selling tracks on iTunes, tying a viral video to a fundraising campaign could generate a great of capital if one gets lucky. Alternately, fiscal sponsorship has funded projects on the scale of the critically acclaimed movie, Boys Don't Cry (care of the New York Foundation for the Arts' fiscal sponsorship program). Moral of the story: these tools work!


Nancy Wozny also wrote a great piece for CultureMap that explores several types of crowd funding platforms and highlights a few folks in Houston that have raised funds through these different platforms. Featured is beloved Houston ensemble Two Star Symphony which is currently on its last few days of its first campaign on IndieGoGo.


We want to highlight two Texas-based campaigns that have done an excellent job in promoting their campaign creatively and raising the funds to accomplish their goals:


Big Boy feature film has four days left in their campaign and they’ve already met their fundraising goal.










Two Star Symphony has 18 days (and counting) left of their campaign to raise funds to pay for a recording of their original score of Titus Andronicus that they performed with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. They are more than halfway to their goal!







And last but not least, Spacetaker is hosting a FREE Info Session on Fiscal Sponsorship & Crowdfunding on Thursday, March 10th at our Artist Resource Center (ARC). We're bringing down Dianne Debicella of Fractured Atlas (NYC) and Danae Ringelmann of IndieGoGo (San Francisco) to Houston to talk to about how Houston’s artists and arts organizations can best utilize the fiscal sponsorship and crowd funding platforms offered by IndieGoGo and Fractured Atlas.


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