Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Arts Funding 2.0: Dust and Grooves

Frank Gossner, of the Voodoo Funk blog, in Ghana; Eilon Paz, Dust and Grooves

By Rachel Reynolds Luster, Contributing Editor

Today we introduce a new weekly series, Arts Funding 2.0, that will highlight an arts-focused “crowd funding” campaign each week.

Perhaps fittingly, those new to the term can turn to Wikipedia to learn that crowd funding is "the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations." Kickstarter, Indiegogo, ArtistShare, and PledgeMusic are only a few of the crowd-funding sites online.

Without a doubt, crowd funding has become a major force in supporting individual artists and arts-oriented collaborations and community efforts. In an announcement that generated a great deal of conversation and debate, Kickstarter recently estimated that it will raise more funds for arts organizations and artists this year than the NEA, setting an estimated $150 million to be distributed compared to the NEA’s $146 million. While this assertion has been challenged by a number of writers and arts commentators, and may not accurately represent the intricacies of the arts funding ecosystem, sites like Kickstarter have become a presence in these national conversations on the arts and their audiences.

We find two aspects of crowd funding particularly interesting. Donors, supporters, or pledgers are able to vote with their wallets, in small to large amounts, for projects they want to support. This not only democratizes the process of arts funding but also allows more fluidity and individual expression in the projects that receive funding. In addition, unlike granting systems, these projects are not required to be affiliated or structured as non profits and are not subject to reporting requirements that are mandated by other, more formal, arts-funding structures.

We hope that you’ll send us your suggestions for campaigns that we should feature in the series, and we hope you’ll support these projects! You can send suggestions to

Our first Arts Funding 2.0 project is Dust and Grooves:

Dust and Grooves is a photography and interview project documenting vinyl collectors in their most natural and intimate environment: the record room. Dust & Grooves maintains the integrity and history of vinyl, as well as the musical heritage that goes along with every record in these collections.
Photographer and documentarian Eilon Paz has traveled around the world and across the country collecting the stories of vinyl collectors. According to the description on their Kickstarter campaign page, “Together, words and images tell the story of the love affair between collector and collection, and preserve a record of music that otherwise might be lost."