6 Successful Crowdfunded Public Art Projects

With funding for the arts at an all-time low, these projects still managed to get off the ground thanks to websites like Kickstarter

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Maybe it’s Congress’s ultra-low approval rating – on par with Hugo Chavez! – that has it trying to get in with the cool kids by considering a bill that would make it easier for businesses to raise capital through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has taken off among artists and entrepreneurs as an easier way to raise money from the public through websites that pitch their project and collect the cash. Some sites take a percentage of the money earned, impose a deadline, or don’t charge donors until a goal is met.

Although sites like RocketHub, fansnextdoor, and artistShare provide similar platforms for people to pass along money to create work they want to support, Kickstarter seems to have fielded the rowdiest roster of major public art projects in cities. Take a look at how crowdfunding got its street cred with these six recently funded public art projects.

Disposable Cameras in New York Parks
Katie O'Beirne has been leaving disposable cameras in New York City parks for a few hours at a time, developing the results and posting them on her blog. She's so far gathered more than $2,700 to fund the project via Kickstarter.

 

 

Hope Portraits for Haiti
The group HOPE Art project pasted up large portraits in Port au Prince and Jacmel Haiti in August 2011. For the second anniversary of the earthquake in January 2012, 50 people paid $3,962 for them to put up more portraits of young girls holding up signs explaining their hopes for the future.

Occupy Wall Street Puppets
A crowdfunded campaign extended the tradition of oversized puppets amplifying protestors’ messages at the Occupy Wall Street camp.

Metal Monkeys
A pedestrian bridge in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., was invaded by hanging metal monkeys after a crowdfunding campaign yielded nearly $2,000 more than the artist’s goal. The project was part of that city's big ArtPrize competition.

Ceramic Mural
After artist Juana Alicia finished a series of large ceramic bas relief tiles for a mural on the facade of the Satellite Senior Housing low-income residence in West Berkeley, Calif., the tiles sat boxed up in the basement for three years because there wasn’t any money to install them. Now, $5,347 later, they’re ready to be mounted.

Improv Theater
Across the bridge in San Francisco, Killing My Lobster, an improv troupe, will be able to create a new theater space out of an old fabric store in the heart of the Mission District thanks to the kindness of nearly 300 strangers.

About the Author

  • Amy Biegelsen is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.