After writing a guide to crowdfunding, I have been watching visual arts projects with interest to see how they’re faring.
Here’s the guide if you wish to have a look: www.a-n.co.uk/p/100291/
It seems arts aren’t doing that well. Or, I should say that it seems a lot of the arts projects looking for funding are mainly collecting from friends and family. I have given £75 to 4 projects on different CF websites in the last few months. I know none of the people I helped personally.
I gave to these people because a) I had money in my account at the time – ask me today and I do not. b) I knew of them or their work and felt sure that they would use the money to the very best of their ability and ambition c) what they were asking for in all cases seemed to be a reasonable i.e. not greedy, amount.
I saw that Artquest have launched the ‘Generator’ bursary scheme with Wedidthis for three emerging artists to receive a bursay, exhibition and mentoring. What a brilliant idea. However, I see today that it has only raised £100 of its £9,000 target and with only 15 days to go, does not seem likely to. There are a few reasons that I personally, won’t be giving money to this project, the main is that I’m massively between pay cheques and have none to give.
Other more general reasons include the fact that the pitch is a bit off-putting. It was obviously done early on in the project, so the artist talking is vague about the project and even the amount of artists involved. We don’t know who the artists are, although they have since been selected. I want to know more about each person, I want to hear from them why it will make a difference and what their plans are (I wouldn’t hold them to those though). I don’t know if you can update the video pitch once it’s on, I don’t think so, but I would like some updates on the project. I also feel, sadly, that it is not going to succeed as it is so far off target, so I don’t think there is any point in contributing at this stage. I guess with something this size, it needs a match amount or a strategic donation early on. Otherwise it seems like an ant doing a marathon.
Another thing that is difficult about crowdfunding is receiving an email asking for pledges to a project like this, when you are also an artist and already live below the poverty line. The rewards are not enough to encourage me in this instance as being an artist I know more about what’s involved. Therefore I don’t want an ‘artist-designed’ private view card as recompense for £20. Don’t most artists design private view cards?
I really do hope, however, that Artquest have an immediate load of pledges and the bursaries can go ahead.
Basically, it seems to me that artists are the wrong target audience for this fundraising. Artists’ already value art and have no money, looking at it finanically on paper they would be the last group to turn to.
I feel as if I have just waded through treacle trying to get those clumsy words out. I don’t mean to disparage the Artquest bid or crowdfunding (Artquest is actually ace), it’s just all starting to seem very difficult. How do we bring a new audience to art and replicate the ease of bands pre-selling albums and gig tickets? The thing missing most obviously is product; art’s not something everyone can necessarily have a piece of.
So I guess there has to be answer to that before art will see the same success as theatre/films/music/design in crowdfunding. Or we carry on depending on our nearest and dearest to contribute, but then projects are capped at a certain cost and ambition and things don’t always move on at the rate they should.
I’m interested whether other people would pledge money to crowdfunding arts projects and their reasons for doing so (or not). Anyone?