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Crowd-Sourcing Arts Funding

I’m starting a community cultural planning process in Dayton, Ohio, which is being overseen by Culture Works, the local arts agency for the Dayton region. As our project has been gearing up, I’ve been looking over CEO Martine Collier’s shoulder because she’s been preoccupied by a different start up: Dayton has become the 24th site for thePower2Give program.

Power2Give is an attempt to take the Kickstarter ”model” into the arts world as a way to fund discrete arts-related projects. As you probably know, Kickstarter is the famous crowd-sourced funding web site that has become an effective way to launch an array of entrepreneurial products and activities. People pitch their project in words and videos and anyone who is moved to do so can make an “investment.” Only if the pre-set goal is met will the money be collected. As Dayton’s Power2Give web site says, “…Power2give provides a way to mobilize and empower individual donors while giving all nonprofit organizations throughout the Dayton Region the ability to raise funds for arts and culture projects…”

Power2Give strikes me as an effective way to reach larger audiences and that’s particularly important in rural and suburban areas, even smaller cities like Dayton. It’s not that there’s less going on in those areas; rather, the density of activity is less, so it’s hard to get the critical mass that helps build awareness. Power2Give — especially when coupled with an effective agency like Culture Works — can help to create that ferment. Take a look at the projects listed – and it’s only been live a short while.

For me a big part of the value of something like Power2Give is in what I see as its community engagement aspect. This is such a powerful way to show in an almost visceral way the range and depth of creative activities in a place. That said, I suspect for most of the folks who create the videos to promote their projects and then work to entice people to donate the funding they’re aiming for, the bottom line is the bottom line. That suggests there is more than one reason to like this initiative!

For more on this topic, read Alan’s thoughts on crowd-resourcing.
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