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

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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:

Art as Social Practice 

Pope.L, Flint Water, 2017, installation view 2. Courtesy the artist and What Pipeline. © Pope.L
Pope.L, Flint Water, 2017, installation view 2. Courtesy the artist and What Pipeline. © Pope.L

Artists and organizations are coming to Kickstarter to support and build communities around socially engaged practices. Social practice art engages in aesthetic and physical dialogue to support communities or issues and catalyze social change. 

These projects can be challenging to fund through traditional avenues like galleries, grants, or museum funding. But artists are finding support through Kickstarter. Pope.L and What Pipeline’s Flint Water project to sell limited-edition bottled water sourced in Flint, MI, supported a crisis relief fund and elevated community discussions through programming. Lauren Halsey’s Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project will create a community-constructed center featuring ephemera and carvings that illustrate the history of South Central, L.A. And Swoon’s Braddock Tiles project helped restore a local building and transform it into a ceramics workshop to reinvigorate North Braddock, PA, through the arts.

Breaking Down Political Barriers

"With Democracy in the Balance There Is Only One Choice" by artist Carrie Mae Weems in Columbus, Ohio. For Freedoms, 2016
"With Democracy in the Balance There Is Only One Choice" by artist Carrie Mae Weems in Columbus, Ohio. For Freedoms, 2016

This year we worked with For Freedoms, an apolitical artist-run organization founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, to fund the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history. Through their 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms will mount an artist-designed billboard in every U.S. state and territory; the project is aimed at addressing fundamental questions about the link between culture and politics. 

Increasingly, artists are using Kickstarter to break down barriers and encourage dialogue about political issues. Last year, Forward Union brought together a coalition of artists, arts organizations, NGOs, nonprofits, and political action groups to create a social action fair, open to the public, aimed at fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and offering solutions to many current social and political issues.

Championing Artists Working in Less Commercial Areas

Ernesto Yerena, We the Resilient, 2017. Photo by Patricia Guerra. Courtesy of Amplifier.
Ernesto Yerena, We the Resilient, 2017. Photo by Patricia Guerra. Courtesy of Amplifier.

Traditional funding systems in the arts are often hidden behind closed doors to which just a few individuals hold the keys. Kickstarter has become a more democratic path, opening doors for all kinds of ideas, including those by artists working in less commercial areas. 

Amplifier’s We The People campaign, for example, placed artist-designed posters in full-page newspaper ads during the Women’s March in January 2017; it became the most-funded project in the Art category. And in 2016, Tania Bruguera raised support for the Institute of Artivism in Cuba, a space that brings artists and civic leaders together to further civic literacy through art.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the Kickstarter community. Together, you’re helping to create a more vibrant and enriched society. We look forward to seeing what you bring to life next.

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