2014 "Home is where the art is" calendar by Cafe Art
Thanks for watching our video which was made by two of the Cafe Art contest photographers: Simon Denis photo took the June photo and Michael Crossgate, December.
The Cafe Art photography contest was supported by The Royal Photographic Society. Local London Region members helped with the photography training at the camera handout on 31 July and their Director General Dr Michael Pritchard was on the judging panel. It is also endorsed by Homeless Link and Laura McCullagh, Innovations Project Officer, was also a judge.
See the BBC coverage
London, October 23, 2013. We launched the calendar last week, and it was great to have the BBC at the launch live and make a special gallery of photos.
However the best news was on the last day of the exhibition at Spitalfields, when one of the artists involved asked about getting his own market stall and Spitalfields offered him one for free for a month to start him off. This would not have happened if we had not done the photography contest and calendar so we are very happy to see such direct results.
Your pledge pays for some of the printing bill of £6,500 for the 3,000 calendars. By paying for the printing bill, we will be able to focus on the other aspects such as training the vendors to sell the calendar to the public. The first calendar they receive will be given to them at the sales training session when they will also receive an ID badge. The calendar is worth £10 and when they are licensed they will be able to buy more for £5 and sell to get them into employment.
The calendar is a quality product - a real art calendar, with FSC certified paper and designed for free by a top London graphic design firm, Carter Wong Design. The participants in the calendar - the winning photographers - all wrote or edited their stories. We made sure they had total input and agreement about how they were being represented: some preferring to focus on their photographs only, others wanting to talk about their experience with homelessness.
The Cafe Art 2014 calendar project started with a photography contest in St Paul's Cathedral on 31 July. One hundred single use recyclable cameras - commonly described as disposable - were handed out to members of the art groups run by homelessness charities. Cafe Art was supported by the Royal Photographic Society volunteers who helped present and also gave advice on photography to the participants.
After five days the cameras were returned. Once developed a groups of judges, including professional photographer Andy Gotts, the director-general of the Royal Photographic Society, Dr Michael Pritchard and representatives from the homelessness sector, selected images for an exhibition and calendar.
People whose images were selected for the calendar were interviewed in late August and early September.
Many people participating in the project have been homeless, and are on a "road to recovery". We hope this process has been made easier by this project - impacting on their creative and social skills through the contest, and employment and work experience though the sale of the calendar.
We are going to be based at Spitalfields Market in East London where we will have a weekend market stall from 26 October until the end of December where we will give people the chance to gain work experience on the stall. If they want to sell on the street, or to people they know, they will be able to stock up at the market stall.
Next year we will be able to find sponsorship for the printing. The plan is to establish a stable social enterprise that sells more than calendars one day, but we are starting with this project.
About Cafe Art
It was founded in early 2012 by Michael Wong who had been a volunteer with an art group at a major homelessness charity in London for several years. He saw a lot of great art not being seen by anyone and came up with an idea to frame it and hang it in cafes for the public to see and buy.
Paul Ryan met Michael Wong in August 2012 and told him about his experience in developing a project in Vancouver, Canada, called Hope in Shadows. Hope in Shadows is a photography contest, exhibition and calendar which is sold on the streets of Vancouver, and Paul ran it for seven years. The project became very successful and gave work experience to hundreds of people living below the poverty line, including people affected by homelessness. Paul said he believed that a similar project could be successful in London.
Trial calendar success
In late November 2012 Cafe Art published the 2013 calendar. It featured 12 artists who had had artwork hung in cafes by Cafe Art. Like the Hope in Shadows calendar, the month pages featured profiles of the artists, giving an insight into their lives and letting them connect with the reader as they describe their art.
As a trial we only printed 1,000 copies to see what the response would be. We sold it in the cafes and were fortunate to be given a market stall from Spitalfields Market in East London, which allowed the artists to meet the public and sell the calendar. The 2013 calendar raised more than £6,000 for the artists and the art groups.
Supporting our start up
We got the cameras discounted by FujiFilm, and the Royal Photographic Society then paid for them. St Paul's Cathedral helped us by providing a venue for the camera handout on 31 July and the Royal Photographic Society provided a crew of volunteers from their London group. Christie's have helped us by providing volunteers and they also provided a venue for the panel of judges who selected the photographs.
The beautiful graphic design was done for free by Kelly Mackenzie from Carter Wong Design.
Finally, we get support from more than 20 cafes across London who will sell the calendar as well.
This photo is of a mural in East London and was popular at the exhibition, selling 10 copies, with 50% going to Maya Simeon, the photographer. It is one of the pledge options available if you support our project.
The following images are available as a reward, either framed or unframed. Fifty percent of the pledge will go to the photographers.
Risks and challenges
We will need to sell 3,000 calendars in this first year of the photography calendar project to enable us to plan for next year. We have limited the print run to ensure that we don't over-estimate how many calendars we will sell (though we plan to print more in future years) to minimize the risk.
We have set the total for Kickstarter at a low level as we don't want to risk missing the minimum target. £3,000 will pay for almost half the printing bill and enable us to pay the second enstalment while we focus on training the vendors.
Another challenge is getting media coverage. We were happy to be featured on both the BBC and ITV London evening news programmes on 31 July so we are hopeful they will cover the calendar launch on 14 October. We know that coverage of the calendar launch is essential to promoting the calendar to the general public.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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