Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Andromeda/Your Turn: US Artists new social media fundraising website -- would you take part?

United States Artists recently made an Alaska visit to spread the news about their new "Projects" website, a Kickstarter-like platform that helps artists raise funds for specific ventures.

The Anchorage Daily News reported on a workshop that was held for about 35 Alaska artists who had previously received awards from the Rasmuson Foundation, one of USA's partner organizations, to show them how to use the site. Rasmuson also recently announced that they are willing to match up to $2,500 for each of up to ten projects pitched on the site by Alaskans.

The Dailys News article explains: "The website lets artists raise money for new creative work by "crowdsourcing," which is to say high-tech public begging. The idea combines social media and micro-philanthropy." Originally made available only to winners of USA awards, the project has more recently opened up to include efforts of local and regional art award winners, including Rasmuson grant recipients. Two Alaskans, filmmaker Andrew MacLean and composer John Luther Adams, have successfully used the website to raise money for their projects.

My question for you: Do you plan to use this website, or have you thought about using similar Kickstarter-type sites? Would you be willing to donate to another artist's project, or do you find such requests annoying or offensive? I'm wondering, in particular, how literary projects fit. I can more easily imagine people donating to the creation of a community play, film, or visual art exhibit, for example, than to a writer's more solitary and independent writing project. But what if a small donation earned you a later book copy? In this day of shrinking advances and diminishing publisher support, does social media-powered fundraising offer writers a way to get their writing projects off the ground?

2 comments:

Ray Bonnell said...

I will not be using the service even though I have projects that might benefit from public fund-raising. This is because my art and writing have not received the blessing of the officially sanctioned gatekeepers. It seems very twisted that to qualify for public funding sites like this you have to have already received funding through organizations such as the Rasmuson Foundation. It’s like Billie Holiday sang, “Them that's got shall get. Them that's not shall lose.” The USA Projects site just seems like Kickstarter for the rich and famous.

And I don’t have a problem with sites like Kickstarter, or raising funds through social networking. It’s not really a new concept. I know that back in the 1800s at least a few writers raised the money necessary to publish their books by having people sell the books BEFORE they were published. Prospective buyers saw sample chapters or book mock-ups and bought subscriptions based on that. The money raised through subscriptions funded publishing.

online fundraising websites said...

And I don't have an issue with destinations like Kickstarter, or raising supports through long range informal communication. It's not so much another thought. I realize that back in the 1800s no less than a couple of essayists raised the cash indispensible to produce their books by having individuals advertise the books BEFORE they were circulated