Projects We Loved: 27 of Our Favorite Kickstarter-Funded Projects from 2017

Inside Pussy Riot, brought to life with the help of 971 backers in 2017.
Inside Pussy Riot, brought to life with the help of 971 backers in 2017.

2017 was a consequential year. For many people, it was a challenging year. But it was also a year in which people made art that amplified new and underrepresented voices, brought communities together, and engaged in important conversations. 

Kickstarter creators were an integral part of those conversations. This year, creators made work that dealt with vital issues like the global refugee crisis, mental health awareness, and the consequences of climate change. They imagined alternative futures and possibilities for our world, from a vision of Earth in which humans have merged with robots to an exhibition revealing the New York City skyline that never was. And they pushed their practices further through limited editions, commissioned pieces, and explorations of life and culture on our planet. Over 46,500 creators launched new and ambitious projects in 2017 — and over 4 million people supported them.

As a team, Kickstarter staffers have backed thousands of projects. So as the year comes to a close, we asked a few of our colleagues to share their favorite Kickstarter-funded works that became available to read, watch, explore, experience, purchase, and play in 2017. Some of these projects launched and subsequently entered culture earlier this year. Others came about after years of painstaking work, during which time creators gave their backers a behind-the-scenes peek at the process along the way. All were fascinating and inspiring for their originality and inventiveness.

Read on to discover our team’s favorites — and let us know yours in the comments.

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Bon Voyage to Our Fall 2017 Creators-in-Residence

Our Fall 2017 residents
Our Fall 2017 residents

This fall, we welcomed fifteen Kickstarter creators to our office in Brooklyn, NY, as part of our Creators-in-Residence program. The residents settled into their desks in September, and immediately got to work in our theater, recording studio, and meeting rooms. They organized events, developed new work, and partnered with Kickstarter staffers who served as their mentors, providing guidance and support throughout the development of their projects. 

Here's a quick look at what they got up to during their three-month stay:

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What People Did with the Artiphon Instrument 1 in Its First Year

Sarah, the !llstrumentalist
Sarah, the !llstrumentalist


In 2015, Mike Butera and the Artiphon team launched the Instrument 1 on Kickstarter. Their goal was to create a “multi-instrument” that could be played like a guitar, violin, piano, or sampler — giving music-makers an interface that was as flexible and customizable as the digital sounds it controlled.

That vision resonated with more than 3,300 backers, who helped the Instrument 1 become the highest-funded musical instrument on Kickstarter to date. As a platform devoted to bringing creative projects to life, we love it when creators make tools that encourage others to be creative in new ways. So we asked Butera to share some of his favorite examples of the music people made with the Instrument 1 from the past year.

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Make 100 Is Back for 2018

 

A nudge to get creating in 2018.

Last January we launched Make 100, a creative prompt focused on limited editions of 100. The idea was to start the year with a new project and a commitment to creating. Over 470 creators participated, making everything from photobooks to 3D-printed lamps to handmade tapestries, and much more.

We loved ringing in the new year with this burst of creative energy. That’s why we’re bringing Make 100 back for 2018 — and we can’t wait to see what you’ll make.

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Food-X and Kickstarter Present a Request for Innovations

Green Top Farms
Green Top Farms

Hunger, nutrition, factory farming, food waste, labeling issues, commensality… 

When people say our food system is broken, it’s shorthand for a myriad of interrelated issues. These problems are complex, and it’s easy to feel as though they’re insurmountable. But we believe that through collaboration and the ingenuity of independent creators, solutions are within reach.

Today, Kickstarter is teaming up with the global food innovation accelerator Food-X to issue a joint Request for Innovations. Together, we’re calling upon independent creators who are attempting to improve our food system, working to provide food options that engender public health, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

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Welcoming Cassie Marketos Back to Kickstarter

Today we're happy to announce that Cassie Marketos is joining Kickstarter as our Vice President of Community Strategy. A lot of that happiness has to do with the fact that Cassie is really not so new. She was Kickstarter’s first official employee, before there was even a Kickstarter office. In this newly created role, much of her focus will be on nurturing the community we’re building at Drip, a tool for artists and creators to fund and build community around their creative practice. It’s great to have her back. We asked Cassie to answer a few questions about herself.

Photo by Daniel Shea
Photo by Daniel Shea

 

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Last Call for Commissions

 

This November, we challenged creators to take part in Commissions, an open call for collaborative projects.

The idea was simple: Artists, designers, and makers could run Kickstarter projects that invited their supporters to pledge for rewards made especially for them, using their input and ideas in the creative process.

So far, we’ve seen over 150 Commissions projects launch from creators around the world. Their creative ventures have encompassed everything from making one-of-a-kind geometric paintings and architectural illustrations of backers’ childhood homes to composing one-minute songs, choreographing custom dance moves, and painting oh so many dog portraits.

Today, we’re sharing fifteen of the most imaginative Commissions projects we've seen so far. You can explore all live Commissions projects here — or launch one of your own by Thursday, November 30.

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New: View Kickstarter in Your Currency

Today we’re pleased to announce the ability for backers to see project goals and reward-tier amounts converted into the currency of their choice. With pledges coming from more than 175 countries — and nearly half of them made from outside the U.S. — this feature serves our growing community around the world.

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