Welcoming Casey Gerald to Our Board of Directors

I am very pleased to announce that the author and entrepreneur Casey Gerald has been appointed to Kickstarter PBC’s board of directors.

Casey is the author of There Will Be No Miracles Here, a memoir and coming-of-age story that, as Casey puts it, “stands the American dream on its head.” It was named one of the best books of 2018 by NPR and The New York Times. Casey is a two-time TED speaker and was named by Fast Company as one of the “Most Creative People in Business.” He also recently wrote “The Black Art of Escape” for New York magazine, reflecting on the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ arrival in Virginia.

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A Message to Our Community

To our community of creators and backers:

The many questions and concerns we’ve heard from you lately are a testament to how much you care about Kickstarter, the people who work here, and the importance of creative work in the world. In response, I felt it was best to talk directly about recent events and issues.

It’s important for you to know, and to hear straight from me, that we haven’t fired anyone for union organizing. We respect our staff’s right to decide for themselves if they want a union at Kickstarter, and we are giving them the space they need to make that decision.

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FAQ About Recent Events at Kickstarter

We shared a message from Kickstarter’s CEO to our community about recent events and the leadership’s response to them. We have also put together this FAQ to help clear up any questions about this.

We originally published this FAQ on September 27, 2019, and we’re updating it as necessary. Last updated October 3.

Will Kickstarter's leadership voluntarily recognize the union?

Kickstarter fully supports our staff’s right to decide if they want to unionize. Our staff members have expressed starkly different opinions on unionization over the last six months. A secret-ballot election run by the National Labor Relations Board will fairly and democratically resolve the internal debate and ensure that all voices are heard. We will recognize a union if our staff chooses that path in an NLRB-certified election.

The organizing effort here has been complicated by the fact that some supervisors have been involved in the organizing process. This is highly unusual. It creates an obvious risk that employees will feel pressure from their supervisors, which is why it’s not allowed under labor law. We’ve received complaints from staff members about this.

Two weeks ago the union organizers urged the staff to pursue “a fair, anonymous, and democratic election.” That should be the next step. We have a responsibility to protect the rights of all of our staff members in this process. It's their right to decide if there should be a union at Kickstarter, not ours.

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Kickstarter announces new residency at Factory Berlin’s Creators Lab to foster creative communities

Factory Berlin - Creators Lab
Factory Berlin - Creators Lab

Starting this month, Kickstarter and Factory Berlin are teaming up for an ongoing residency of workshops, lectures and editorial events at Factory Berlin’s Creators Lab, a multi-purpose environment hosting music and artist studios and a meditation room located at Görlitzer Park.

This collaboration will provide a space for creators in the Kickstarter and Factory Berlin network to share knowledge and connect with competent partners and like-minded collectives. Every 3 months, Kickstarter will invite a like-minded organisation to help co-curate the Factory’s Creators Lab with a focus on themes like sustainability, mental and physical wellbeing, the creative process, ethical entrepreneurship, and innovation.

’On Feeling Healthy’ events with shesaidso

’On Feeling Healthy’ events with shesaidso
’On Feeling Healthy’ events with shesaidso

 Kicking things off on September 24, we’re most happy to join forces with shesaidso, a global network of women and nonbinary folks in the music industry. With their focus on female empowerment, encouraged allyship, and the exchange of emotional and practical guidance, shesaidso are a perfect match for Kickstarter and Factory Berlin’s joint mission to bring creators together as a community.

shesaid.so event - Gender Issues in the Music Business
shesaid.so event - Gender Issues in the Music Business

In addition to Kickstarter’s upcoming involvement in shesaidso’s first ever conference - MEETSSS - happening in Portugal this October, there will also be two invite-only events at Factory Berlin, tackling mental health and physical well-being for working creatives. . This is a particularly important topic, especially for people committed to doing things on their own terms and relying on their own talent as their main resource.Regularly checking in with your body and emotional balance is more important now that ever before. For those in attendance, and even available for those who can’t join on the day, Kickstarter and The Creative Independent created a brand new zine, “On Feeling Healthy” that captures practical tips and spiritual guidance from creatives of all disciplines on how to keep physically and mentally on top.

The Creative Independent Zine - On Feeling Healthy
The Creative Independent Zine - On Feeling Healthy

More information on these events below: 

Kickstarter x Factory Berlin pres. shesaidso 

  • Tuesday, September 24 

How to support your body & mind in times of stress and anxiety 

Presented by Franziska Eichler 

Lecture / Networking / Q&A

Mental and physical wellbeing coach Franziska Eichler knows a thing or two about dealing with keeping calm under pressure. In 2017, the former booking agent and tour coordinator of electronic music heavyweights like Richie Hawtin and Skrillex decided to switch lanes and become a trained yoga teacher and nutritionist in order to help people make better lifestyle choices, and have more control over their health and state of mind.

In this session, Franziska will give detailed advice and practical tips on how to use a balanced diet, meditation and breathing, exercise and day-to-day routines to effectively switch from ‘fight or flight’ modes into states of deep relaxation.

If you’re interested in attending this event, you can learn more and book your spot here.

  • Wednesday October 23 

Yoga and Wellness Workshop Presented by Anna Giunta of Flawsome Yoga Wellness 

Lecture / Workshop / Yoga Class

Italian Berlin-based Health Coach & Yoga teacher Anna Giunta has made it her priority to reconnect her clients with their minds, bodies, and embrace their flaws. Anna has worked many years in the music industry, first as a radio host then as a talent agent, before she underwent training as a yoga teacher in India and holistic health coaching with the world’s largest nutrition school The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York. Running her Flawsome Yoga Wellness service, Anna is also one of the resident trainers at Berlin’s newest innovative Yoga, Pilates and Barre studio John & Janes. 

In this hands-on yoga and wellness workshop, Anna will share practical knowledge on nutrition and life hacks, breath work and specific yoga flow that can be integrated into your daily routine in order to live a balanced and healthy life.

’On Feeling Healthy’ with shesaidso will be the first installment of an ongoing collaboration between Kickstarter and Factory Berlin. Watch this space to read more about event recaps and learnings, and all upcoming partnerships and co-curated events taking place at Factory Berlin in the months to come.

Kickstarter Joins the Global Climate Strike on September 20

On September 20, Kickstarter is inviting our staff to participate in the Climate Strike. Here in New York, staff are welcome to take the day off to attend the protests. We’re also supporting team members who work remotely and want to take time off to join a protest in their area.

When Kickstarter became a Public Benefit Corporation in 2015, we included our planet as one of the stakeholders we consider when making decisions. Being an environmentally conscious company is something we’ve baked right into our charter. We've manifested this commitment through our work with the Environmental Defense Fund to create an Environmental Resources Center for creators and through the day-to-day choices we make in our office space, such as launching a composting program and using low-energy lighting.

While some companies participating in the Climate Strike may choose to shut down entirely, our platform will remain live. We’re taking this approach because we know that thousands of creators, many of whom are small and independent, rely on our platform to bring their ideas to life. If you're a creator with a live project and you want to express your support for the Climate Strike on your project page, we have a graphic for you.

You can learn more about the Climate Strike and how to participate at globalclimatestrike.net

Catch These 5 Kickstarter-Funded Performances this Fall

When the temperatures cool and the sky turns a bit grayer, it generally signals the beginning of my favorite time of year: the fall performance season. Each year Kickstarter plays host to dance, theater, and performance projects that comes in all forms—and this year is no different. From a techy sendup to a performance inspired entirely from one playwright’s dreams, here are some of our favorite things to catch this fall in NYC, London, and Seattle, many of which found funding through our Performance: In Progress initiative this spring.

Looking at You by Handel, Marting, & Sankaram
Looking at You by Handel, Marting, & Sankaram

Looking at You by Handel, Marting, & Sankaram 

September 6—21, New York 

Get tickets

The nerds at fictional corporation Silicon Hills like to party. They’re in the middle of a celebration at their massive headquarters when the audience joins in the fun. As you order a free drink from the singing, computer-generated assistant built into your table, a swirl of operatic voices, EDM and crime jazz surrounds you. With Looking at You, you’re invited to enter a story of high-tech espionage and sultry romance.

73 backers pledged $7,765 to help bring this project to life.

Four by Four by Dance Umbrella
Four by Four by Dance Umbrella

 Four by Four by Dance Umbrella

October 8—26, London

Get tickets

For the fall season, international dance festival Dance Umbrella highlights two commissions from “choreographers of the future” Mythili Prakash (USA) and Georgia Vardarou (Greece). Catch their newest works, as well as dozens of other great dance works, this fall in London.

37 backers pledged £5,157 to help bring this project to life.

Turning Towards A Radical Listening by James Allister Sprang
Turning Towards A Radical Listening by James Allister Sprang

 Turning Towards A Radical Listening by James Allister Sprang 

Performances: October 3—5,10—12, New York 

Exhibition: October 29—December 15, New York 

Get tickets

Auto-diction technology has a problem recognizing Blackness. The resulting glitches—heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and sometimes even funny—are turned into a live soundscape and concrete poem in the hands of James Allister Sprang.

117 backers pledged $15,030 to help bring this project to life.

Orphans, Thieves, and Other UnLived Lives by Jessica Jobaris
Orphans, Thieves, and Other UnLived Lives by Jessica Jobaris

 Orphans, Thieves, and Other UnLived Lives by Jessica Jobaris 

November 7—16, Seattle 

Get tickets

Martha Graham once called epigenetics, or changes in our heritable gene expressions, our “blood memory.” Seattle choreographer Jessica Jobaris and a team of local performers are creating a new dance-theater performance inspired by this concept.

99 backers pledged $6,363 to help bring this project to life.

Orchid Receipt Service by Corrine Donly
Orchid Receipt Service by Corrine Donly

Orchid Receipt Service by Corrine Donly 

Dates TBC, New York

How do you bring a dream to the stage? This play, produced and performed by Billions’s Asia Kate Dillon, takes the dreams of its playwright and manifests them in this epic production written for and created by an all-star TGNC team.

This project will be live on Kickstarter through September 17, 2019.

Can’t get enough theater, dance, and performance? Here are a few more Kickstarter-funded shows you can attend this fall.

September 

Ongoing: Say Something Bunny (New York) 

9/11: Buglisi Dance Theatre’s The Table of Silence Project (New York) 

9/20—10/3: Adrienne Truscott’s (Still) Asking for It (New York)

October 

10/7: FEAST Season 4 begins (New York) 

10/12—10/18: Kimberly Bartosik’s I hunger for you (touring the Northeast U.S.)

10/30—11/10: What to Send Up When It Goes Down (Washington, DC)

November 

11/7—12/8: Sarah Friedland’s Crowds (New York) 

11/20—11/24: What to Send Up When It Goes Down (Boston)

December 

12/4—12/7: Tess Dworman’s A Child Retires(New York) 

12/7—12/18: Buttcracker IV...The Final Countdown! (Seattle)

Explore our Dance and Theater categories now to help bring more new works of performance to life.

Meet the Fall 2019 Kickstarter Creators-in-Residence

The Future is Bright by Katya Grokhovsky, 2019, sofa, toys, fabrics, found objects, acrylic, wall paint, video, BRIC House, NYC, photo: Walter Wlodarczyk
The Future is Bright by Katya Grokhovsky, 2019, sofa, toys, fabrics, found objects, acrylic, wall paint, video, BRIC House, NYC, photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

For three years running, we’ve invited creators to join us at Kickstarter HQ to start something new. Earlier this year, we announced an open call for the fifth edition of our Creators-in-Residence program. We received hundreds of applications from amazing, independent creative people, and today we’re thrilled to announce five incoming Creators-in-Residence at our HQ and four creators who will be participating in our first-ever digital residency program for the fall 2019 season.

Previous Creators-in-Residence have used our in-house theater for screenings, recorded new episodes in our podcast studio, and hosted events and gatherings in our library. Many have gone on to accomplish exciting things in their fields:

  • Director Dafina Robert’s web series, Giving Me Life (in the Land of the Deadass), launched during the residency and is now distributed through Xfinity, UrbanOne, Gravitas Ventures and RevryTV. 
  • Filmmakers Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell’s cult variety TV show, The Eyeslicer, was funded and partially shot at Kickstarter’s HQ, and will soon debut as part of the Radical Film Fair. 
  • Artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy’s film Public Key / Private Key is now in the Whitney Museum's Special Collection.

This season, we’re also running a pilot program to provide guidance to creators beyond NYC in collaboration with On the Boards. OtB is a non-profit that produces and presents innovative contemporary dance, theater, and music. On the Boards and Jessica Massart, Kickstarter’s Senior Performance Lead, will mentor performance makers in the Seattle area as part of our new digital residency program over the course of three months as they plan, launch, and fulfill Kickstarter campaigns.

Learn more about the incoming residents below, and stay tuned for their projects.

Join us in welcoming five creators into our Brooklyn HQ for the next three months

Adele Pham 

Adele Free Pham is an activist and filmmaker, with experience in all aspects of documentary production. Her feature documentary, Nailed It, which tells the genesis and culture of the Vietnamese nail industry, premiered on PBS in May 2019–and is the highest streamed film of the America Reframed series. While in residence at Kickstarter, she’ll be working on a campaign for her next feature, State of Oregon, which investigates the murder of Larnell Bruce Jr. by a white supremacist in 2016 as a touchstone to Oregon’s founding as a white homeland state.

José Rivera Jr. 

José Rivera Jr. creates glam musical paintings using powerhouse vocals, athletic dance, and video art. Building for stage and screen, José orients toward a Queer Future by queering narratives of love, power, and vulnerability. José has made work for YouTube, Radio City Music Hall, La MaMa ETC., NYU Tisch, The Flea Theater, and Fordham University. During the Kickstarter residency, José will plan and launch a campaign for LQQK, The Way I Look, a visual EP featuring four original songs and choreographies.

Katya Grokhovsky 

Katya Grokhovsky is an artist, curator, and educator. Katya has received support through numerous residencies and fellowships, and has been awarded the Brooklyn Arts Council Grant, NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship, ArtSlant 2017 Prize, Asylum Arts Grant, Chashama space to create grant, Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart Grant, NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, Freedman Traveling Scholarship for Emerging Artists and others. While in residence at Kickstarter, Katya will plan and launch a campaign for The Immigrant Artist Biennial, a platform for a large scale multi-disciplinary exhibition and a series of public events of critically engaged contemporary art made by immigrant artists.

Rachel Kauder Nalebuff 

Rachel Kauder Nalebuff is a writer exploring community. She is the editor of My Little Red Book (Twelve Books, 2009) and co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project (Feminist Press, 2015). She directs 3 Hole Press, a small press for performance works in printed formats. As a Creator-in-Residence, Rachel and her collaborators will work on a campaign to turn 3 Hole Press into a long-term, sustainable endeavor.

René Kladzyk 

René Kladzyk is a musician, writer, perfumer, and cultural geographer who performs under the moniker Ziemba. Drawing from a background studying feminist geography and the U.S./Mexico borderlands (René is a native of El Paso, TX), her work frequently interrogates identity, culture, and ethical issues in the performing arts. Her most recent full length album, ARDIS, functions as a series of portals into a fragrant sci-fi adventure and parallel world. René also co-leads Xoir, an experimental vocal collective, along with Berlin-based artist/musician Colin Self. While in residence at Kickstarter, René will work on a new project addressing the gender imbalance in the music industry.

As well as four Creators-in-Residence joining us digitally, in collaboration with On the Boards

Dakota Alcantara-Camacho 

Dakota Camacho dedicates yo’-ña creative practice to the re-k/newal of ancestral knowing and the expression of Matao creativity. MALI'E, Camacho’s current work, is a performance research project re-k/newing the traditional Matao practice of embodied, improvisatory, collective, singing where oral history and prophecy converge.

Fox Whitney 

Fox Whitney is an interdisciplinary performance maker and artist working at the intersection of dance, film, theater and visual art. Fox is the choreographer/architect of Gender Tender, an interdisciplinary performance project that centers his transgender, point of view. While in residence, Fox will plan and launch a campaign to expand Melted Riot, a queer meditation inspired by the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

Imana Gunawan 

Imana Gunawan is a storyteller, multimedia journalist, dance artist, and creative director. She leads breaking news coverage of Indo-Asia-Pacific for Dataminr. As an artist, Imana creates scenic, surreal dance-based worlds that center the stories of marginalized peoples, their ancestry, and their futures. During the Kickstarter residency, Imana will be developing on an editorial lookbook and digital album featuring original songs by local QTPOC musicians.

Naomi Macalalad Bragin 

Naomi Macalalad Bragin is a dancer, performance scholar and community artist-activist. Naomi will run a campaign for Little Brown Language, a dance-incantation using aural kinetic rhythms of shared voice to remix historical texts of Spanish colonization and Catholic conversion, in their collaborators' linked motherlands of the Philippines and Venezuela. Naomi, Milvia Salvatierra Pacheco and Angel Alviar Langley perform these collective acts of cultural translation/reclamation to activate psychic ancestral patterns of memory, recovering their relationships to land, language and each other.

Sign up for the Kickstarter Alumni newsletter to learn more about our Creators-in-Residence.

Kickstarter Launches New Digital Resource for Emerging and Student Artists

Visual and performing artists are the cultural backbone of the United States, helping us rethink our past and imagine a better future. With the addition of self-taught and outsider artists, college-educated artists who hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree are launching projects (on or off Kickstarter) every day.

Kickstarter has worked to elevate student work and partnered with programs like RISD and MICA, helping artists tackle all sorts of projects from their thesis exhibition to executing their first print run or product. Even seven artists featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial launched Kickstarter campaigns to fund their work, many of which ran during or immediately following their Master in Fine Arts programs.

Naima Green, Zoe Black, and Tt the Artist (former students of art & Kickstarter alums)
Naima Green, Zoe Black, and Tt the Artist (former students of art & Kickstarter alums)

But here on Kickstarter’s Arts team, we’re all too familiar with the challenges that come along with pursuing an art degree. The top 10 MFA programs in the U.S. on average cost $71,133 in total, and since 2010, nearly 17,500 students complete their Master’s degree in fine arts annually, adding to 2019’s $1.5 billion dollar student debt crisis. Exacerbating this financial burden is the reality that programs simply do not set students up for financial stability or give them the professional tools to help them navigate their career as an artist after graduation. The Creative Independent’s recent survey found that a majority of artists believe their MFA or other art-related programs did not help them become financially stable.

From workshopping grant applications to calculating artist stipends to crafting public art proposals, there is so much territory to cover. This is why we want to take Kickstarter’s 10 years of experience helping artists fund and realize projects and create a resource center for new and emerging artists and better guide them toward financial stability.

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