Recently, we ran a Kickstarter program. Kickstarter.com is a place for creatives to post a project they're trying to raise money for. There are art projects, films, books, inventions... all kinds of really cool things on there, all trying to get funding so that they can be created. The artists/writers/inventors/whatevers post a story about the project they want to do and offer rewards to anyone who will donate to their cause. It can be as little as one dollar, or as much as the supporter wants to give.
With ours, it wasn't so much a donation as the people supporting us were buying our artwork on sale. We offered a better piece of art than the going rate if they supported our project NOW rather than waiting until Christmas to buy or whatever. We get the much needed funding to travel and exhibit our glass art at the Space Symposium and they get a wonderful piece of art on sale. It's a total win all the way around.
I hadn't run a Kickstarter program before, so had no idea if it would work, what all I needed to do to get it going and what would have to be done to get it to completion. What I found was that it wasn't so much that the Kickstarter website promoted us to a range of people that hadn't seen our work before. I had no idea of course, but thought that the pledges would come from new people. What I wasn't expecting was that nearly all of the pledges came from our circle of friends and supporters. People stepped out of the woodwork to help us. It was amazing.
We reached our goal and could travel to the show and display our glass art knowing that we had the money to pay for the shipping, hotel and travel expenses. When you're an artist, working day to day and on such a random income, knowing that the funds would be there was such a relief to us. We could work on putting up a fantastic show without the stomach churning stress.
The thing that became most clear to me is that I have the greatest group of friends and supporters. The money was of course a huge help, but what actually hit me harder was that people close to me and those I didn't know well had been watching our progress and wanted to help us succeed. The emotionally impact of that realization is/was tremendous.
From left to right in the real booth you can see the 1/3 scale model of the Ascending Stars Lifetime Space Achievement Award Master Sculpture on a turntable atop the cabinet, our display case holding bottle stoppers, small dishes, a Red Velvet glass cupcake and atop the cabinet one of the Steampunk Rockets. On the counter next to the cabinet are some small awards, our cards and a tower to accept business cards from visitors to the booth. When they drop a card in, they receive a glass pendant necklace as a gift.
Along the back wall at left center, on its own turntable, is the Ascending Stars Lifetime Space Achievement Individual Award sculpture that was presented on Wednesday to Dr. Charles Elachi, Director of JPL, the HD monitor running our Impact Movie, a Rising Earth sculpture, a 13" Fused Glass Galaxy Platter, an 11" Fused Glass Rose Nebula Platter, a 10" Blown Glass Jupiter, the Ascending Stars Lifetime Space Achievement Individual Award prototype, our illustration portfolio book and, on its own pedestal, the Planetary Society Cosmos Award spare; its twin Blown Glass Saturn sculpture now residing in Stephen Hawking's office at Cambridge.
We have nearly finished creating the artwork rewards, just a few to go. Now to think up the next Kickstarter project!