The Cafe Art 2018 MyLondon calendar is a social enterprise initiative for London homelessness art groups and individuals who have been affected by homelessness.
On Friday 30 June this year, at St Paul’s Cathedral, 100 FujiFilm single-use cameras were handed out to people affected by homelessness. Participants were given the theme "My London" along with training from The Royal Photographic Society. Now with your help, the upcoming 2018 calendar is almost ready for production.
The photographers were given just 5 days to photograph London from their perspective before the cameras had to be returned, the films processed and printed and a panel of judges came together to create a shortlist of 20 for the public to vote on. More than 3,200 votes were received at Spitalfields Arts Market in the first week of August 2017, the winning photos will form the Café Art 2018 MyLondon Calendar, profits from which go directly to the participants.
Last year we passed our goal of raising £5,000 to pay for the first 50% instalment of the printing and production costs. Thanks to the success we were able to raise £8,436 which covered two thirds of the calendar printing costs. We know that going viral at the right time was a huge help, and we don't take anything for granted so we have set our Kickstarter goal at £7,500 this year.
MyLondon's Kickstarter success in 2015 blew us away (see the hundreds of links here, including Buzzfeed, Bored Panda and the NBC Today Show) This combined with the success that followed in 2016 (see links to the reports from last year here) has resulted in the project not only growing in London, but partnerships with projects around the world have also become possible. As well as running MinhaSao Paulo in Brazil in November 2015 with With One Voice, we are helping several other cities including MySydney, MyBudapest, MyNew Orleans who are all doing their second annual calendars this year and MyToronto is launching this year. All projects are grass-roots run and funded locally, and we encourage people to support them too!
Photography mentoring for the photographers
As a result of the success, in London we have been able to continue the photography mentoring programme for the photographers, and pay volunteers who are homeless for roles such as hanging and managing exhibitions.
The photography mentoring group meets in the Qbic Hotel in East London every two weeks to be mentored by members of The Royal Photographic Society. Here they learn about digital photography with cameras donated by Fujifilm. This success in setting up new photography training is a direct result of The RPS, especially Neil Cordell, and Fujifilm, but it was helped by last year's successful Kickstarter project in a huge way, as it allowed us to focus on the participants affected by homelessness and how we can improve the project.
Cafe Art's goals include:
• Empowering people affected by homelessness, not only through art, but through connecting with the public
• Telling the stories of individuals who are affected by homelessness
• Raising awareness in the general public about issues from the participant’s personal perspective.
Since 2012, sales of calendars have raised more than £85,000 for art groups, artists and vendors, and to sustain the project itself. The last two year's Kickstarter campaigns for 2016 and 2017 calendars went viral worldwide enabling us to print the calendar, frame the exhibition and reimburse the photographers. This year we want to do it again, but first we have to print the 2018 calendar and to do it we need your support.
The 2018 MyLondon calendar photos
My London is a quality product - a real art calendar, with FSC certified paper and designed for free by top London graphic firm, Carter Wong Design. The contributors to the calendar - the winning photographers - all wrote or edited their own stories. The calendar is still in the production stage but below are the 13 photographs chosen by public vote in Spitalfields Arts Market in early August. Following those are the additional 7 photos that almost made it - they are all available to buy and the photographers will receive 50% of the profits.
Risks and challenges
This is the 5th MyLondon calendar we have produced, so we are experienced in the process of writing, editing and printing the calendar. We know we need it ready for the annual week-long exhibition in Spitalfields Arts Market (9-15 October) so we have a fixed deadline for the launch. However, we need to reach our Kickstarter target to be able to confirm the final amount printed.
Something that is always a challenge is successfully selling all of the calendars printed in arts markets while providing work experience to people who have been or are homeless. This year we are setting up a street team to sell the calendar, so we will spend some of the Kickstarter money to do this, buying bags and producing ID badges. We will also be introducing the London Living Wage to our Spitalfields Market stall. Vendors will still be able to earn commission on sales, but not 50% of the sale price.
Vendors affected by homelessness who want to sell the calendar for themselves on the streets or to friends will still be able to do so through the vendors programme: buying the calendar for £5 and selling it for £9.99.
Another challenge will be to continue our increase in sales. Last year we sold 9,000 calendars, which was up from the 6,000 sold the year before that (a 50% increase). This year we have decided to keep our goals modest: if we can sell all 10,000 calendars, we will increase last year's record by 1,000, and whilst we will approach all previous buyers, we don’t take any support for granted.
If this Kickstarter goes in a way that’s similar to previous years we will increase the print run to more than 10,000.
Any additional calendar revenue made in the markets will go towards project expenses (the rest of the printing bill, food and transport costs for the vendors) and framing art by homeless people for cafes, which is Cafe Art's main focus.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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