About this project
Project Update: Funded!
Thank you backers! We've met our first goal of $3000 to fund the 2017 season, with a little bit to spare. Hopefully between now and 2018, we can raise $2000 more to keep the project going for the 2018 season too! If you missed the Kickstarter, head to klondikeletters.com. You'll find a link to donate via PayPal and a little store of artwork and other rewards. Thanks for your support!
The Chilkoot Trail officially opened June 1st for the 2017 hiking season and a stack of Klondike Letters postcards is already at the top of Chilkoot Pass on the boarder of the USA and Canada. To keep this project going for future Chilkoot travelers, I need to raise funds to cover the cost of printing, mailing and cataloging these memory postcards. The average cost involved for one postcard is $2.00. If you have a love for wild places or just want to celebrate the most beautiful boarder-crossing in the world, consider donating the cost of a postcard or more so this project can continue for years to come.
From June 25 thru July 7, 2012, I hiked through Klondike Goldrush International Historic Park as an artist-in-residence on the trail. During that 2 week period, I asked my fellow travelers to write a postcard to themselves as they hiked over the historic Chilkoot Pass from Alaska to the Canada. These postcards, along with sound recordings and my drawings from the trail, formed a collective memory portrait of the Chilkoot Trail. One year later, when the words and images of that journey had lost their sharpness and faded in the mind, I mailed those postcards to the writers as a vibrant catalyst for our memories of the Chilkoot.
From July 5 thru July 9, 2016, I hiked the trail again bringing a box of fresh postcards in the hopes of establishing an ongoing project. With the help of trail rangers and hut wardens from the National Parks Service and Parks Canada, over 700 postcards were collected in 2016 giving us a 30% participation rate. For a public art project, that's a fantastic response! These postcards are being cataloged and will be mailed this summer.
What does it all mean?
The things I remember most from my trips into the wilderness are the moments I’ve recorded in my sketchbook. When I sit down and really look at a place for a long time, I remember the landscape as seen through my pencils and papers. When I look back at the drawings years later, the space beyond the drawing begins to reform around me. I feel the mosquito bite on my knee, hear the sound of my companions setting up camp in the distance, catch the scent of the forest on the breeze. The physical act of translating the experience in our minds through our hands onto paper is a solidifying act.
On a deeper level, this project is about why we seek out places of wildness and what we experience there. Though the stampeders were seeking gold in the Klondike wilderness, the vast majority didn’t find their fortune. From their letters and diaries, we can see they did find other things: adventure, suffering, love, an insight into human nature at its best and worst. It’s a long journey to get to the Klondike. What do you find in this place that you can’t experience in your daily life, what moment is going to change your life in some small but hopefully significant way? Ultimately, this is what makes these places worth preserving.
Budget and Beyond
$3000 is the minimum amount we need to keep this project going through 2017, and that includes cutting a few corners. I am committed to continuing the Klondike Letters Project through this summer season, but really we want it to continue much longer than that! Every additional $2000 we raise now, that means the project will continue for another year.
Your pledge will go towards the current and future expenses of the project, which include the following:
- eco-friendly printing by GreenerPrinter
- domestic and international postage stamps
- paying a living wage to my wonderful research assistants as they sort, photograph, transcribe and archive the piles of postcards on klondikeletters.com
- Website registration and maintenance
- Reward production and shipping
- Kickstarter and credit card fees for the use of their services
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding platform, meaning if we don't reach this goal, your pledge goes back to you and the project will end. That's why we've created some enticing rewards that will hopefully make pledging a bit more worth your while.
$2 to $9 - Sponsor a postcard (or few) - One postcard costs $2.00 to print, catalog and mail. International postage costs a bit more. If you'd like to see this project continue, sponsor a future Chilkoot hiker's postcards by donating a few dollars. No amount is too small!
For those wanting to support the project at a higher level, we have several thank you rewards for your donation.
$10 - Digital Wallpaper - A selection of artful photographs from the Chilkoot Trail and the surrounding area, sized to fit a standard computer monitor.
$25 - Corrie's Trail Journal - a digital book with full color sketches and philosophical musings from both the 2012 and 2016 journeys on the trail. Peer into the mind of the artist and travel with her through the ins and outs of the creative process.
$50 - $100 - Archival prints - Choose from a selection of artwork created on the Chilkoot Trail. Printed on archival photo paper and hand signed by the artist. See the full gallery of prints here.
$50 - Sourdough Zombie - Yes, it's alive and part of a long Klondike tradition. This sourdough starter was sourced in Skagway, Alaska and handed down to me from my father! It's traveled to Lake Tahoe, California, Big Sky, Montana, and now resides happily in Baltimore, Maryland. Well, seasoned and frothy, it comes with detailed instructions for the perfect sourdough loaf.
$1000 - Animated Portrait - A custom-made, hand-drawn animated loop just for you! Have your portrait animated, choose your favorite Klondike hero, or anything that comes to your imagination!
Risks and challenges
This project's funding goal is the minimum amount needed to maintain the project through 2017 as well as cover the cost of rewards and Kickstarter fees. The success of this Kickstarter will determine how far into the future the Klondike Letters Project can continue. After we hit our minimum goal, we'll reach for a stretch goal of $5000 to extend the project into 2018. Due to the great participation rate from last year (over 30% of hikers stopped to write a postcard!) Klondike Goldrush International Historic Park has committed to oversee the logistics of getting the postcards to and from Chilkoot Pass and are fully behind the project. So the real risk is exuberant participation.
Last year we had 650 postcards. I expect that to increase a bit in 2017. If this summer is unexpectedly and extraordinarily successful and blows my estimate out of the water then our stretch goals for 2018 will end up covering some of the 2017 mailing costs and we will definitely be launching another Kickstarter around this time next year!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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