This June, the Chicago Design Museum will become a permanent archive and gallery in the city that will be open year-round. We need your support to hang the first exhibition in our new space.
The exhibition—Looking back, and envisioning the future
In 2014, AIGA turns 100. We are joining in the centennial celebration through our summer exhibition, which reintroduces Chicagoans to the last century of design from our city. We will juxtapose this broad historical documentation with a curated look at the ways in which communication could evolve in the next century. Our group of passionate, curious curators has been hard at work for the past four months developing this exhibition for you. We are excited by their research, and can't wait to share it with you!
Beyond this summer's exhibition, we intend to explore design across other disciplines—architecture, interior, product, furniture, fashion, and more. The big idea is to install one exhibition per season, opening the gallery for two months at a time. When the gallery is closed for a month to change exhibitions, the archive will be available for members and students to peruse by appointment.
Reward—Let's do something impossible
We have commissioned an incredible posters series from our past exhibitors and new friends. We can't wait to get their work into your hands, and frankly, into our personal collections. This limited edition poster series has been designed exclusively for this Kickstarter campaign. All six designers have been asked to design with the phrase, "let's do something impossible". (Poster dimensions—18x24")
Representing our tenure in Chicago are three esteemed designers, and your old friends—Marian Bantjes, Debbie Millman, and Michael C. Place. Representing our growth are three new collaborators—Chuck Anderson, James Goggin, and Mike McQuade.
In addition to building a new permanent space, launching our summer exhibition, and commissioning an exclusive poster series, we are also pleased to offer our first ever membership program.
Monthly mailer—Great Ideas of Humanity
Reduced admission to events
10% off all purchases in our store
Invitation to member's holiday party
Private access to the ChiDM collection
*The Great Ideas of Humanity mailer is a monthly series that is commissioned and maintained by ChiDM. Building off of the tradition of the Container Corporation of America's Great Ideas of Western Man series, we intend to pair designers and artists with global thought leaders, asking them to illustrate ideas, which will be printed and delivered to you directly.
Over the past two years, hundreds of people have volunteered thousands of hours. Together, we've poured over details, made connections, broken down silos within our community, and challenged the perception of institutionalized museums. We've hosted exhibitions in Phoenix and Chicago—uniting, informing, and inspiring well over 10,000 people. Our momentum continues to build, and now is the time to harness it.
We don't take this opportunity lightly. With your help, we will continue to serve as a resource for the design community and beyond, facilitating an open dialogue about contemporary and historical design through engagements, events, and digital media. Our new, permanent space will act as neutral ground, allowing for meaningful collaboration and conversation.
2014 is an important year for our community. Starting this summer, we will evolve and expand upon our mission, involving you in our process, and changing our landscape together. In conjunction with the AIGA Centennial and Chicago Design Week, we will host events during the summer exhibition that serve both our mission and community.
You complete us
ChiDM is as much yours as it is ours. If you'd like to get involved on a deeper level, please contact our Administrative Director, Lauren Boegen, at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com. I am in constant conversation with members of the design community, via email and in person. This high-level of interaction constantly informs and shapes my way of thinking about the organization. Let's continue the conversation.
Risks and challenges
Finding a niche in an already culturally-rich city can be challenging, but for us it has been energizing. Chicago hosts a design community that thrives on collaboration, transparency, and connectedness. Excited by these ideas, creating open access to information, and celebrating design excellence, we are surrounded by like-minded individuals that value and share our ethos.
We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback that you want a permanent design space as much as we do. While we have imagined a complex and diversified business model, we want you behind us when we go to individuals and corporations to ask for support. We're keeping operational costs low, and feel very confident about funding for our other three exhibitions in this fiscal year. As you know, Kickstarter is all or nothing. If we don't reach our goal, we won't receive any donations. We could ask for less, but we feel very strongly that this is an honest and fair assessment of proposed costs. Over time, we will likely need to raise costs to give you more, but strive for slow and steady growth in the interim.
With risk comes reward. Our biggest reward will be seeing your support in action during our summer exhibition, which will run through both June and July.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Good news! We signed a lease today. There are a few more details to sort through, but we'll make a formal announcement through this platform on Monday. We're all very excited to spill the beans.
We budgeted the summer exhibition based on our previous experience building out and hanging an exhibition each June in 2012 and 2013, knowing this one will run longer and offer more than past exhibitions.
For context, we raised approximately $25,000 for our first pop-up installation and events in Humboldt Park, which cost about $20,000 to plan and install. We spent the remaining funds on Art on Track and the other programs we put on in 2013, saving the remaining for our second installation. We raised approximately $30,000 for our second pop-up installation and events in Block Thirty Seven last year, which cost approximately $26,000 to plan and install. On top of this, external groups provided nearly $50,000 worth of marketing and in-kind donations.
Of the money we're raising in this campaign specifically, roughly 8-10 percent will be automatically removed for Kickstarter and Amazon processing fees. On top of that, 12-15 percent of the funds will go directly into printing and shipping the tangible rewards. This leaves us with roughly $37,000 for activities around our first exhibition.
Based on the past two years and the growth we've planned for, we anticipate that the exhibition itself will cost roughly $30,000—divided amongst build out, development, exhibit design, events, new publications, new curatorial, wayfinding, store, and marketing. The additional $7,000 is a small fraction of newfound costs associated with a longer exhibition—more insurance, more utilities, a much higher-cost lease, and more programming.
In short, this is a higher ask because we are doing much more than we've done before. We're relying on many other sources, outlined below, for our subsequent exhibitions, programs, events, and staff.
Our business intends to draw from a variety of sources—individual gifts, membership, corporate donations, endowments, programming, our in-house store, and grants—to name a few. Kickstarter is an important part of our business model for this fiscal year, because it represents your voice as we grow.
We need you. This is a public, transparent platform that allows us to involve you in our fundraising efforts. An unsuccessful Kickstarter doesn't mean an unsuccessful ChiDM, but it does mean a world in which our future is unstable.
Success is subjective. As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the number of supporters is what keeps us going.
For all intents and purposes, ChiDM is a start-up venture. This campaign represents our dream refined into a vision. Since launching, we've learned a ton about the reality of our vision.
As a board, we are in the process of evaluating our short-, mid-, and long-term goals to create something sustainable. Constant learning begets constant growth. Our conversations are mostly centered on the idea of reevaluation in the name of delivering quality. To quote Dieter Rams—less, but better. This is a little vague for now, as there are still a lot of moving parts. More to come.
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