Introducing Designed by Artists

Artists on Kickstarter are launching projects that push beyond their own categories, working in disciplines like Design and Technology to develop products that bring communities closer together. Here on the Arts team, we’ve asked ourselves how to best elevate these cross-category projects—and what resources artists need to build their first product.

Today, we’re excited to announce the beginning of a new initiative called Designed by Artists, a celebration of Kickstarter projects by artists building community-centered products. From conceptual dating apps to hardware for new media art, these projects create thoughtful, useful products that enrich the lives of the people who use them—and we’re here to help you to make one too.

Join the initiative.

Similar to initiatives like Kickstarter Commissions and our Design and Technology team’s Request for Projects, Designed by Artists is an invitation for you to launch a project. This time, we’re looking to highlight artist-designed products that take their bold ideas outside the patron, gallery, and institutional models—and put them in the hands of the community they serve.

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Toward Better 3D Printers: A New Test From Autodesk and Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a well-established home for 3D printing. Over 200 campaigns focused on bringing new 3D printers to life have been funded here. Innovative industry-leading companies like Formlabs got their start on Kickstarter. Hundreds of other creators have launched filaments, fixtures, print heads, and other projects that support this dynamic ecosystem.

To ensure that this community continues to thrive on Kickstarter, we’ve been working with our friends at Autodesk to address a challenge that our creators and backers face: lack of a common standard to assess the performance of FDM 3D printers. (Fused Deposition Modeling is the standard layer-by-layer process that you’ve probably seen even if you’ve only encountered a few 3D printers.) Today, we’re happy to announce that with generous help from Autodesk, we’re releasing a new open-source printing test for Kickstarter creators.

Kickstarter already requires that 3D printer creators demonstrate the current functionality of their devices through videos of prints in progress and photos of finished prints. However, creators often showcase different types of prints, from geometric vases and abstract art to more common tests like the 3D Benchy. This makes it hard to compare the performance of various machines.

Autodesk research scientist Andreas Bastian has developed a test procedure designed to help creators better calibrate their machines and showcase their printers’ capabilities to backers on Kickstarter. He developed a single, consolidated STL file that tests a printer’s dimensional accuracy, resolution, and alignment. For example, poor execution of the “bridging” feature shown below will lead to a saggy and stringy print. A well-calibrated printer will make the horizontal feature with fewer of those issues.

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Mark Your Calendars: 16 Kickstarter-Funded Performances to Watch in NYC This Fall

Davalois Fearon performing at The Met Breuer. Photo by Andrew Imaging.
Davalois Fearon performing at The Met Breuer. Photo by Andrew Imaging.

Every fall, the performance world experiences its own back-to-school moment as artists prepare to premiere and tour their works. Starting this September, dozens of Kickstarter-funded shows will be hitting stages across the country.

In New York City alone, 16 Kickstarter-funded productions will premiere in the coming months. The creators of these works represent some of the most exciting voices in performance today, and each is helping to forge a new vision of how performance can tell important stories and engage audiences.

Here are a few of the performances I’m especially looking forward to:

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2 Million People Have Pledged $100M to Art on Kickstarter

Today, I’m thrilled to share an exciting milestone: over 2 million people have pledged more than $100 million to creative projects within Kickstarter's Art category. That support has helped bring more than 12,800 works to life—from paintings and performance art to sculpture, installations, and conceptual works.

Some interesting themes arise from looking at these works. Here are a few that stand out:

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Announcing NFTS Platform!, a New Initiative to Support the Next Generation of Filmmakers

NFTS students on set
NFTS students on set

Today, we’re excited to team up with one of the world's leading film, games, and television schools, the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the UK, to launch NFTS Platform!, a new initiative to support the next generation of filmmakers.

As part of NFTS Platform!, students will launch Kickstarter campaigns for ambitious short film projects outside of the school curriculum. They will receive mentorship from the Kickstarter Film team, learning fundraising and community-building skills that will help them tell important and timely stories and find dedicated audiences eager to support their projects. In addition to the funds raised through the Kickstarter campaigns, NFTS will make a financial contribution to each project.

The initiative is a response to the challenges of funding independent films, and recognizes the important role that community funding can play in the success of short film projects.

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How 15 Million Backers Have Supported Creative Ideas on Kickstarter

At the end of July, Michelle Vance backed her first Kickstarter project. When she did, she became the 15 millionth member of a community that's brought nearly 150,000 projects to life.

“It was just a couple of years ago that I saw the lead singer of Moda Spira, Latifah Alattas, perform live. I found myself drawn to her music and storytelling,” Vance told us. “I heard about her new album project in an email update from her friends at Humble Beast Records. There were only three days left in the campaign, so once I read the description of her project and saw how close it was from the goal, I wanted to support it. I wanted to hear more storytelling from Latifah. She is a rare gem in the world of musical artists, and I hope to hear her creative works for years, even decades, to come.”

Like the 14,999,999 backers before her, Vance is helping to bring new creative work—work that might not fit into traditional commercial models—into the world. Just this year, Kickstarter’s backer community has supported a soaring mechanical sculpture in France, a book about autism from the Sesame Street Yellow Feather Fund, a slew of local journalism initiatives around the U.S., and much more.

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