How to Crowdfund an Art Installation
Crowdfunding can be challenging for the arts, but experts have a few tips for visual and performance artists looking to crowdfund their next installation.
Enter a Contest
Art Basel, a widely acclaimed, multi-city art show stager, partnered with Kickstarter last year to support up-and-coming artists and non-commercial art projects by hosting acompetition. There is a jury selection process and detailed selection criteria. The project is ongoing and continues to raise money, so artists can apply at any time.
Your campaign should be everywhere, especially on social media. Your installation should have a website and a blog, but it also needs to be posted often on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, among others. Push the campaign in the weeks leading up to your launch and consider making business cards with the social media information that you can leave around your community to generate interest. This will work better in larger cities, but it may also work in smaller towns where a large portion of the population has responded well to art installations or performances in the past. Remember that the people who support you are often your best advertisement, so be sure to set them up with business cards, prewritten Facebook posts, and prewritten tweets so that they can help promote your campaign on their own. You may even consider making a “street team” of friends and family willing to hand out business cards, flyers, and other materials promoting your crowdfunding site or launch party.
Line up Donors
Pitch your project to potential donors in the weeks leading up to your formal campaign launch and have them donate as soon as you launch to help generate interest in the project. Donors with a vested interest in you and your art will also be more likely to promote you on their own — hopefully to their art and/or donation-inclined friends! It may be helpful to ensure that donors in the art world have easy access to your portfolio so that they can use it to help pitch you within their circles. Consider creating a separate website for your portfolio if you do not already have one.
Make a Video
Okay, so your video doesn’t need to be directed by Lars von Trier in triple HD, but it should be creative and fun. A video clip is often the most-shared aspect of any crowdfunding project, so it needs to convey exactly what you’re trying to do in just a few moments, all while allowing your style to shine through.
Host a Launch Party
Careful, because these can get expensive, but launch parties are a great way to raise a ton of money for your project fast. Remember, the launch party is not the be-all, end-all of your campaign – it’s only the beginning. Invite movers and shakers and charge admission. There’s no need to blow all of your startup money on the party, though; people will come because they’re interested in you and your art, not expensive food and drink. Keep it inexpensive, have fun, and make sure you show your promo video at least three times so that different waves of the party will see it and talk about it.
Time Your Campaign Well
The timing of a campaign is crucial. Consider these rules:
- Promote your campaign for 2-3 weeks before you launch.
- Launch your campaign on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday that is not during a holiday week.
- Run your campaign for 4-6 weeks.
While three days of the week, no holidays, and no weekends sounds limiting, it will pay off for you. Social media works by generating interest, and people are the most interested in social media when they’re bored at work in the middle of the week.
You’ll likely come up with some of your own ideas for promoting awareness of your work, but if you are new to crowdfunding, start off with some of these methods to help fund your next art installation.
Are you an artist looking to crowdfund an art installation? Fill out an artist profile at http://www.hatchfund.org/artist/enrollment and get started today!