Knowledge Centre Blog

Crowdfunding and Visual Arts

We asked the people behind three great Fund it Visual Art projects to give some advice to future project creators. Here’s what they had to say…

Fiona Kearney, Director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery – Mixtapes

'45 78 33' an artists' book in response to the exhibition Mixtapes

’45 78 33′ an artists’ book in response to the exhibition Mixtapes

Fiona offers some relevant advice on managing a live campaign following the Gallery’s successful project which saw a limited edition artists’ book ‘Mixtapes’ being funded with the support of 72 people,

“We treated our live campaign as part of our social media conversation. We kept it informal and hopefully informative. We didn’t overload our social media with updates as I had got a bit frustrated previously with overly keen fundraisers constantly in my inbox.

We also had fantastic advice from Fund it moderators on how to pitch the campaign before we went live which helped us to make our pitch punchy and appealing to a general audience.

We also had investors lined up (mostly family and friends) at the start of the campaign to ensure initial investment. We sought support from board throughout. That was pretty much the plan.”

Anne Cleary & Dennis Connolly – Hall of Mirrors.

Dotman from Hall of Mirrors by Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly

Dotman from Hall of Mirrors by Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly

58 people helped Paris-based artists Cleary & Connolly raise over €6,000 toward their exhibition ‘Hall of Mirrors’ which is touring Ireland in 2012/13 and going to Paris in 2014. Connolly & Cleary emphasise the importance of preparing for the work involved with a crowdfunding campaign:

“Our Fund it campaign was a very positive experience for us. It really generated a buzz around the lead up to the exhibition, and led to quite a lot of media attention. We were really surprised at the warmth and generosity of people’s reactions, in particular from the art community; there was a real sense of solidarity.

However I regretted not being able to give the campaign quite the time it really required. It is quite intensive, people feel very involved through supporting the project, and so it is necessary to really thank them individually and keep them updated on progress. This all takes a lot of effort, and so you really need to allow the maximum lead in time possible. I’d recommend starting at least six months before the event happens.”

Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery – What is Art?

56 people helped the Butler Gallery raise over €4,500 toward ‘What is Art? No answers, just discovery’ – a hardback journal written by young people from the Gallery’s education programme. Like most projects, the Gallery used a combination of communications channels including email and social media to get information about their project to a wide audience. Anna echoed the comments made by Cleary & Connolly above about the work and preparation involved with crowdfunding:

“crowdfunding was an extremely positive experience for the Gallery… the process made us very aware of how much success was dependant on how we targeted our diverse contacts with frequency and creativity.”

Here at Business to Arts, we think all of the above is great advice. It is clear to see from their feedback that crowdfunding (including preparation, execution, delivery and follow up) involves time and work. You won’t be surprised to find out that most fundraising does too!

If you’d like more in depth hints and tips from other successful crowdfunders, take a look here.

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