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Unique wildlife-themed travel journal of drawings and stories from eclectic and engaging artists of varied backgrounds and training.
Unique wildlife-themed travel journal of drawings and stories from eclectic and engaging artists of varied backgrounds and training.
415 backers pledged $31,607 to help bring this project to life.

About

Expanding Horizons - Artists' Journey to Africa

$31,607

415

$25,000 Stretch Goal - Paper, printing, and color quality upgrades plus streaming so you can watch the artists at work.  Also, access to videos from the trip itself!

 $20,000 Stretch Goal - EXCLUSIVE comic by Ursula Vernon!

Even more art, with a Kickstarter exclusive comic "A Short Incomplete Guide to Common Birds of Botswana" featuring the incredible, humorous, one-of-a-kind talent of Hugo-award winning artist/illustrator Ursula Vernon! 

UNLOCKED $15,000 Stretch Goal - 25 MORE Pages, Art Tutorials, and more!

More art, more art, more art!  A hefty book of at least 100 pages, the addition of fantastic how-to tutorials so you can see the process as it is created!  Plus a glossy, full-color sticker printed especially for this campaign, a gift to all backers in the magnet tier or above.

UNLOCKED $10,000 stretch goal - 25 more pages of content!!

You asked, we listened, our artists agreed - at $10,000 funding we will be adding at least 25 pages of bonus content, making the book at *least* 75 pages long! 

UNLOCKED $7500 stretch goal - all books will feature a custom-printed bookplate inside, signed by all the participants, a Kickstarter exclusive!

Thank you so much, we can't say it enough, for helping us to make this happen! We are humbled, amazed, and not a little bit shocked at the incredible outpouring of support to make this happen, and to join in one the adventure with us. We are so excited to make art for you!

What is this project about?

We’re here to collaborate on a unique art and story book inspired by the journals and adventures of many intrepid artists who’ve come before us! Our book will be crammed full of sketches, paintings, and notations from the field, as well as photos, engaging stories, jackal hair, and other artistic ramblings that will give insight into the mind of the artists as well as share the adventure with you.

Check out the mock up of the finished product. This is just to give you an idea of your book. We don’t know exactly what we are going to see, or do, or eat, yet. Don’t worry, we’ll get lots of good stuff for you!

Why do artists need to travel?

We’re a group of artists who, instead of painting photo-realistic wildlife, make up a lot things.  Many artists do this to some extent, but for the fantasy artist, sometimes an entire herd of dragons needs to get drawn and we want them to look real. How the heck can we achieve that?

The best way is through lifelong study. We rub our faces in books, smear our eyes over our peers' work, and madly burn through pencil and pen at zoos and museums. But even when in the gracious presence of a zoo animal or beholding the mighty bulk of a lion’s skull, we find ourselves searching for more experience, and the very best way is through travel.

Travel power levels us. It fills us to the brim with exciting new things and we rocket back to our studios TO MAKE THINGS with flames bursting from our hands. Travel and experience makes it personal, and it makes it powerful.

In addition to the trip, our group itself is a treasure. It consists of visual artists, writers, and creative types; we resonate off one another. We all have quirky interests in the unusual, commonly screaming at moss or losing our minds over a dusty rock. See how that twig lays just so. That’s what we do. We then transform the seemingly inane, and merge it with awe inspiring subjects such as the lions and leopards, and out comes something unique.

We are going to fill our sketchbooks and notepads full to bursting with adventures, sketches, notes, and mysterious stains that remind us of this magical time for years to come, as centuries of wildlife and fantasy artists before us have done. Here we can join in an adventure that will inform and expand our artistic horizons in a way that few other experiences in our lives will. And we invite you to join us on that journey.

What is the trip? Is it being funded by Kickstarter?

Our trip is a multi-week adventure to Botswana and South Africa. It is a small, private group trip focused on finding and observing wildlife, hopefully without falling into too many pits or rivers in the process (we are easily excited by birds and may lose track of where our feet, or our cars, are going)! We will be camping in the bush with local guides, moving overland across the country to the Central Kalahari desert, the Okavango Delta, Moremi, Savuti, and many other amazing places where animals abound. The trip is scheduled for April, 2015.

All of the participating artists have already planned and paid for the trip, and will be going whether this Kickstarter campaign is successful or not. Many of us have been saving up for this for many years, and are very excited to go! We are hoping to share some of our artwork and adventure in a way that can help buffer the costs just a little bit.

About the participating artists:

-Laura Garabedian grew up surrounded by animals, and her love of them has been translating into paintings for most of her life. She is primarily a watercolorist, but is constantly trying new media and loves experimenting with new styles and techniques in her artwork.

Currently living in Colorado, the state she truly loves, she takes the chance to travel whenever possible, loving the ability that this career grants her to enjoy all of the pursuits this world has to offer. When she isn’t painting she tends to be outside, horseback riding, rock climbing or hiking with her friends and her dog (a llama – afghan cross). These activities help keep her a happy artist, striving to constantly experience anything and everything life throws in her direction.

Laura plans to contribute drawings, paintings, and stories related to her first trip to Africa!

You can learn more about Laura and see her work at FairyTalesWithTails.com

-Foxfeather R. Zenkova is a full-time artist, most well known for her totemic animal jewelry, yin-yang creature designs, and 'animal stack' series. Foxfeather's art focuses on the connection between humans and animals; she enjoys helping people connect to the natural world through art.

Alongside art, she is the caretaker of an eighty acre property in southern Minnesota where she is pursuing the dream of creating a sustainable grass-based farm, restoring the native prairie, and sharing her love for the land with others through eco-retreat experiences. She is a beekeeper, an avid aviculturalist, and hopes to eventually raise musk oxen.

Foxfeather plans to create lots of drawings and share stories and photos of her misadventures scuba diving with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa and looking for every bird. Every. Bird.

You can learn more about Foxfeather and see her artwork on her website at: Foxloft Studios

-Roman 'Mbala' Zenka is an expatriate of the Czech Republic, having been coerced into moving to the U.S. by his wife and her promise of a musk ox farm. He is a computer programmer by day, artist by night, and part time bee farmer.

His artwork is whimsical, flavored by the styles of classic Bohemian illustrators and even older European woodcut works. He particularly enjoys making slice-of-life comics and has a bit of an obsession with zebras.

Roman plans to contribute photography, comics, and random Czech.
Extra zebra.

-Amber "Vantid" Hill is an accomplished artist who specializes in fantasy wildlife illustration. She is self-taught with a strong background in animal painting and anatomy. Amber's interest in the natural world began at an early age and inspired a life of drawing and observation.

In addition to art, she enjoys organic gardening and permaculture, cooking, travel, animal training, staring at moss, and dreaming of chickens. She currently resides in beautiful Boulder, Colorado with her dashing husband.

Amber plans to contribute anatomical and movement studies, bird sketches, some photography, as well as extensive notes on all the food.

http://www.amberhillart.com/

-Ursula Vernon is the author and illustrator of the Eisner-nominated, Hugo-Award winning graphic novel "Digger," as well as the Dragonbreath series for kids, and the kid's books Nurk and Castle Hangnail. She also writes stories for adults under the pen-name T. Kingfisher, including Nine Goblins and Jackalope Wives. Her work has won the Mythopoeic, Sequoyah, and multiple Junior Library Guild awards.

Ursula grew up in Oregon and Arizona, went to college at Macalester College in Minnesota, and stayed there for ten years, until she finally learned to drive in deep snow and was obligated to leave the state. She now lives in North Carolina, where she's an avid birdwatcher and gardener and works full time as an artist and creator of oddities. She has a husband, a defective beagle, and a fluctuating number of cats.

She plans to contribute mostly writing to the project, but will see what develops!               http://www.ursulavernon.com

-Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja-

From the artist: "For me this trip also represents something more. I have long held a love of Africa's wild places but the most earnest, the longest lived of my fascinations lay in the heart of Botswana's wildlands -- from the Okovango Delta to the vast grasslands that are the Kalahari Desert.  From my long-lived fascination with Africa and its wildlife was born a story called Savuti, about an ordinary lioness who was born in the Okovango Delta and is destined to walk an extraordinary path. Savuti aims to explore the nature of emotions, morality, free will, and to address that ancient question: The meaning of life.

While the basic framework for the story has been forming over the past few years, I do not believe this is a story I can justly tell without seeing with my own eyes the land in which it is set. Through the incredible efforts of some vastly more incredible folks this trip has been made possible and more importantly, financially within reach. This trip to Botswana is the realization of a dream that has been been with me for most of my adult life, and I invite you to join me on my own journey to discover the beauty of this untamed place as well as the humble beginning of Savuti." 

Anastasia plans to contribute drawings, stories, and inspiration for her long-term graphic novel project, Savuti!

http://balaa.deviantart.com/

-Edwin "Utunu" & Jenine "Kikivuli" Herrell live in Austin, Texas, which is fortunately not like the rest of Texas.  Since the mythical early 90s, Edwin has been a video game developer, and around that time he met Jenine at the nerdiest of ventures – a roleplaying game.  Jenine has a background in both medicine and publishing, and conveniently shares with Edwin a number of interests, including gaming, African fauna, commissioning artwork, commissioning more artwork, and the Oxford comma.  Both have a love of nature and desire to get more actively involved in the support of various endangered African animals, the African wild dog in particular, and are thrilled about the prospect of actually seeing them in the wild!
In his spare time, Edwin dabbles in writing, linguistics (especially African languages), and world-building, and laments his inability to accomplish much in any of them.  In her spare time, Jenine wonders how she got spare time, and often assists in Edwin’s various endeavors.

Edwin and Jenine plan to share writing, photography, and hopefully some of their extra, off-in-the-bush adventures on the search for the uncommon, elusive, African Wild Dogs.

-Other participants:  We have a total of eleven people embarking on this adventure together, and everyone wants to contribute some of their best, most interesting stories, photographs, or scribbles to its making. We will have additional pages by these guest contributors, which will be a surprise!

What are the rewards for donating?

$5+ reward - Private blog access

Access to the project blog to view photos, posted sketches and works, and stories from the trip! Good chance to view the bloopers, since some really silly art is bound to make it in here. And who doesn't like to see the silly things we enjoy but don't want to actually publish?!

*All $5 and above tiers gain access to the blog!

$15 reward - Art Magnet by Laura Garabedian

We invite you to bring a tiny portion of Africa to your end of the world, with a 3"x4" magnet of one of the 'Big Five' of African wildlife: the African Lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard, and Rhinoceros. The art is created by Laura Garabedian in her graphic style (samples above) and these are wonderful, water-resistant little reminders of how much you helped us out, that can adorn, well... any number of household items! This level gets a random magnet, species to be determined by what we get to see!

$25 reward - Post Card
A post card (purchased in Africa) with a little doodle and message from one (or more) of our artists. Your own souvenir and a big thanks for making the trip possible!

$45 reward - A printed copy of the art journal book

A full color copy of the book featuring sketches, artwork, and stories from our trip! 8.5" x 11" size, about 40 pages in length.  The book will be professionally printed and bound. Please note that the image here is just a mock-up of the idea and subject to change in the final version!

 $65 reward - BOOK + Postcard from Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja - each postcard will come with a personalized thank you message from Anastasia to the pledger.

$95 reward - Book + Limited Edition Print

A specially created, collaborative print made by Foxfeather R. Zenkova and Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja, featuring African wildlife and inspired by the trip. 8.5" x 11". (The images above are examples of both artists' works, the print will be a piece specially created for this project!)

$100 reward - Book + Be a Saint on Hidden Almanac podcast.

Your chance to be a historical saint on the Hidden Almanac podcast. You get your very own feast day, choice of what you would like to be a patron of, and (optionally) a dreadful and inspiring martyrdom. Sound file of Reverend Mord describing your sainthood available upon request.

Kevin Sonney is the voice of the long-suffering Reverend Mord on the Hidden Almanac podcast, as well as the producer. Hidden Almanac is written by Ursula Vernon, with new episodes every M-W-F. Kevin is a veteran of radio and the other half of the Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap food review podcast. He lives in North Carolina, is very excited to finally visit Africa, and hopes to keep his wife from falling into a river while chasing birds.

You can hear the podcast at: www.hiddenalmanac.com

$100 reward - Book + Comic Feature

Your chance for a starring guest role in one of Mbala's zebra-centric comic strips. Give him as much or as little information about yourself or your character as you like, and get a surprise of what he comes up with, featuring you!

You can see Mbala's comics here: https://www.furaffinity.net/user/mbala

 $115 reward - Book + Print

Limited edition, signed and numbered giclee print of a collaborative art piece featuring the talents of Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja and Laura Garabedian. Anastasia will create a gorgeous drawing of an African Animal and Laura will bring the colors to life with watercolor.  This level is for a print of the original art that comes out of this collaboration, and a book.

$150 reward - BOOK + Original Artwork

An original "cave painting" style watercolor and gouache painting of an African animal by Laura Garabedian 5"x7" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice.

$150 reward - BOOK + Tuckerization by Ursula Vernon

Ursula, under the pen name T. Kingfisher, will name a minor character in a book or story after you! This tier comes with the caveat that because writing books takes time, we cannot promise an exact time frame when the book will be available, but it will happen!

You can learn more about T. Kingfisher's stories at: http://tkingfisher.com/

$200 reward - BOOK + Dramatic Death Tuckerization by Ursula Vernon

This tier is the same as above, but the character named after you will be *killed dramatically*.  Awesome.

$160 reward BOOK + Original sketch

Art by Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja. An original sketch on cardstock of an African animal in a similar art style to the example (above).

  $170 reward - BOOK + Original artwork by Foxfeather R. Zenkova

An original watercolor painting of an African animal.
4 x 6" to 5" x 7" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice. You can see a gallery of Foxfeather's work : http://foxloft.com

$180 reward - BOOK + Original artwork by Laura Garabedian

An original watercolor painting of an African animal.
5" x 7" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice. You can see a gallery of Laura's previous works : Fairytaleswithtails.com

$275 reward -  BOOK + Original Artwork
An original sumi-e ink painting of an African animal by *Foxfeather R. Zenkova*
8.5" x 11" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice.

$375 Reward - BOOK + Original, custom bust  sculpture (painted) by Amber "Vantid" Hill. A 4" tall sculpture made of polymer clay. You choose the animal (no insects or single celled organisms), or artist's choice (a bird).   http://www.amberhillart.com/

 $500 reward - BOOK + species request.

Become part of our journey yourself!  Do you share Mbala's love for zebras? Are you passionate about the hippopotamus?  As a trip super-sponsor, you can request your favorite African animal (or bird, or snail) for us to make extra effort to include in the book. There are no guarantees we will be able to find them but we will try! (If you have question whether a certain species can be seen in Botswana, just send us a message.)

You will also get the book (with a special mention of your name and what you were looking for in it), a scribbled-upon postcard sent directly from Africa, a special Savuti magnet, and our infinite thanks! 


$600 Reward - BOOK + Original Artwork, custom colored pencil portrait with fancy lighting by Amber "Vantid" Hill. 4" x 6" (sometimes larger!) in size. You choose the animal or artist's choice! http://www.amberhillart.com/


$1,000 Reward - BOOK PLUS SURPRISE ART

If you're seriously considering this tier, you are an amazingly generous travel patron, and we will make it worth your while!  You will get the book (with a special mention of your name in it), a scribbled-upon postcard sent directly from Africa, and surprise art from the various artists!

$1500 reward - BOOK + Digital Portait + Postcard + jumbo print (16x20" or larger!) + High Resolution File Proof, custom digital portrait by Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja. 16x20"+ at 300dpi (sometimes larger!) in size. You choose the animal or artist's choice!

You can see more examples of Balaa's work at: http://balaa.deviantart.com/

Want an extra book, or added magnets?

You can order an extra book by choosing the price of your donation (or upgrading it if you've already donated). The cost of the book, to add, is $50 (including shipping) in the U.S. or $60 (including shipping) worldwide.

A single magnet is $15, a postcard w/doodles is $25, (added to any book order or greater tier).

Any of the larger tiers are combine-able (as long as still available), just let us know which ones you wanted!

Where does the funding go?

Part of the funding are fixed costs (the Kickstarter and credit card processing fees), fees to print and package the books, and costs to create other merchandise. A small amount is going towards management (editing/putting the book together, running the back-end of things, mailing out all the rewards). The rest is going to the artists themselves to help buffer the cost of the trip. If you purchase original artwork tiers the funds go to that particular artist.

Thank you!!

Thank you so much for considering supporting our project, it means so much to us all. We look forward to making amazing artwork for you!

P.S. Jackal hair not guaranteed.

Risks and challenges

A project like this takes a lot of time - gathering artwork and stories, editing them, creating a wonderful book you can hold in your hands - the behind-the-scenes of getting it all together is a time-consuming undertaking. We have a wonderful group of experienced project managers who are committed to getting things done and exceeding your expectations!

If any artist is dragged away by lions in the night, they may be exempt from participating in the final product.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    A big thank you for helping us make this trip and project possible!

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    SECRET BLOG ACCESS
    Access to the project blog to view photos, posted sketches and works, and stories from the trip! A big thank you for helping make this project and adventure possible!

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    MAGNET
    An art magnet designed and made by the artist Laura Garabedian featuring artwork inspired by the animals of Africa + project blog access!

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    POST CARD
    A post card (purchased in Africa) with a little doodle and message from one (or more) of our artists. Your own souvenir and a big thanks for making the trip possible + project blog access!

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    BOOK
    A full color copy of the book featuring sketches, artwork, and stories from our trip! 8.5" x 11" size, at least 40 pages in length + project blog access!

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    BOOK PLUS POSTCARD
    A postcard with personalized message from *Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja*,
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book, mailed separately.

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    BOOK PLUS PRINT
    A collaborative, full color, limited edition 8.5" x 11" print by *Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja* and *Foxfeather Zenkova*
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book.

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    BOOK PLUS BE A SAINT ON HIDDEN ALMANAC
    Your chance to be a historical saint on the Hidden Almanac podcast.
    PLUS a copy of the book.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    BOOK PLUS COMIC FEATURE
    A guest feature of you or your character in Mbala's Africanized comic strip.
    PLUS a copy of the book.

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    Pledge US$ 115 or more About US$ 115

    BOOK PLUS PRINT
    A collaborative, full color, limited edition 8.5" x 11" print by *Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja* and *Laura Garabedian*
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    An original "cave painting" style watercolor painting of an African animal by *Laura Garabedian* 5" x 7" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice.
    PLUS a copy of the book, mailed with the art and signed by the artist.

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    BOOK PLUS TUCKERIZATION by Ursula Vernon
    A minor character named after you in a book or story by Ursula Vernon (under pen name T. Kingfisher)
    PLUS a copy of the book.

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    Pledge US$ 160 or more About US$ 160

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    An original sketch on cardstock of an African animal by *Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja*, 5.5" x 8.5" in size.
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book, mailed with the art and signed by the artist.

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    Pledge US$ 170 or more About US$ 170

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    An original watercolor painting of an African animal by *Foxfeather R. Zenkova*
    4 x 6" to 5" x 7" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice.
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book, mailed with the art and signed by the artist.

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    Pledge US$ 180 or more About US$ 180

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    An original watercolor painting of an African animal by *Laura Garabedian*
    5" x 7" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice.
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book, mailed with the art and signed by the artist.

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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    BOOK PLUS TUCKERIZATION by Ursula Vernon
    A minor character named after you and then killed dramatically in a book or story by Ursula Vernon (under pen name T. Kingfisher)
    PLUS a copy of the book.

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    Pledge US$ 275 or more About US$ 275

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    An original sumi-e ink painting of an African animal by *Foxfeather R. Zenkova*
    8.5" x 11" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice.
    PLUS a copy of the book, mailed with the art and signed by the artist.

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    Pledge US$ 375 or more About US$ 375

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    An original bust sculpture by *Amber "Vantid" Hill*.
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book, mailed separately.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    BOOK PLUS SPECIES REQUEST
    You choose an African animal for us to focus on (we can't guarantee we will be able to find them but we will try!) which we will make extra effort to include in the book.
    You will also get the book, a sketched-upon postcard sent directly from Africa, a special Savuti magnet, a surprise goodie bag, and our infinite thanks!

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    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    An original colored pencil portrait by *Amber "Vantid" Hill*. Around 4" x 6" in size. You can choose the species or pick artist's choice.
    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book, mailed separately.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    BOOK PLUS SURPRISE ART
    You are a most generous art travel patron super sponsor! You will get the book, a scribbled-upon postcard sent directly from Africa, and surprise art from the various artists, we will make our gratitude worth your while!

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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    BOOK PLUS ORIGINAL ARTWORK
    Digital Portait + Postcard + jumbo print (16x20" or larger!) + High Resolution File Proof, custom digital portrait by *Anastasia "Balaa" Korochansckaja* You choose the animal or artist's choice!

    PLUS a copy of the travel journal book, mailed with the art and signed by the artist.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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Funding period

- (28 days)