Progress Report: SketchyCon

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SketchyCon is a self-proclaimed “anti-arts” conference where artists meet up to share skills, participate in creative work shops, and hang out. Originally founded by Molly Crabapple as a celebration of unusual muses, the conference has quickly evolved into a key gathering point for alternative art scenes in major cities all over the world. We thought it all sounded pretty cool — and apparently we’re not the only ones.  After witnessing the lightning quick success of SketchyCon’s Kickstarter project, we couldn’t resist dropping them a line to see how they’re feeling and how they did it.

Check out our Q&A with founder Molly below. Support the project here.

How did you feel immediately prior to hitting “Launch” on your project?

Since Dr. Sketchy’s has such a large, enthusiastic following, I was confident we could  get SketchyCon funded. I was slightly nervous, but even more enthusiastic. Mainly, I just thought about how awesome it would be to bring Melanie Knight, the founder of the very first Dr. Sketchy’s branch, to NYC.

How did you feel three hours in? How about ten hours in?

I was staggered by how quickly the donations for SketchyCon came in. Every twenty minutes, it seemed like someone had dropped a hundred dollars. Friends, collegues and strangers all contributed. Watching the retweets and donations stack up was both humbling and exhilerating. After 9.5 hours were were funded. I was ecstatic, but drained.

The response to SketchyCon was immediate and very, very enthusiastic — any tips for other project creators out there on how best to network and promote a Kickstarter project? What did you do that you felt worked best?

The key to promoting your Kickstarter project is having a good-sized, supportive online network.  I promoted on twitter (4800 followers), facebook (1,100+ friends), my facebook fanpage (1000+ fans), my mailing list (3000+ subscribers), my website, tumblr, and through the online presences of Dr. Sketchy’s branches. That said, none of this would have worked if my friends and fans weren’t generous people who believed in what I did.  An online following is worthless if its inauthentic.

For actual strategy, twitter all the way.  I’ve used twitter to arrange flashmobs, auction art, and raise money for Haiti, and as a tool to generate immediate excitement, it can’t be beat.

What about SketchyCon do you think resonates so much with people (it was an idea that clearly caught fire very quickly!)?

Dr. Sketchy’s has, over the last four years, expanded into a massive octopus of an art project. We’re doing alt. drawing in over a hundred cities on five continents- everywhere from Taiwan to Toronto to Tasmania. We’re a passionate community based on DIY values and a love of the performing and visual arts.

What do you foresee for the future of SketchyCon?

When we did the first SketchyCon, we had no budget. Nada. We begged, borrowed, stole from our dayjobs, and wheedled friends into baked cupcakes for us. Having a budget now is so liberating I cannot say. SketchyCon II is getting an enthusiastic, very international response from my branches. I can’t wait to see what SketchyCon III might hold!

Closing thoughts?

Kickstarter is better than the NEA.