Kickstarter is one of the fastest growing, online crowdfunding platforms in the world. Just about anyone with a good idea and the ability to make a kick-ass video can appeal to the Kickstarter community for the funds needed to turn it into a reality.
We’ve featured lots of Kickstarter projects here on Insteading, and love the fact that the site provides an alternative to the traditional investment cycle for artists or tech wizards who want to strike out on their own. But it seems that Kickstarter’s success is making an even bigger impact than we realized.
In an interview late last week, co-founder Yancey Strickler pointed out a surprising statistic: Kickstarter is on pace to crowdfund $150 million of art in 2012…that’s $4 million more than the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2012 operating budget of $146 million.
While this is amazing news for democratically-funded entrepreneurs in the U.S., it’s also a sad commentary on the government’s ghastly lack of arts funding.
While Kickstarter focuses on start-up projects that are usually focused on digital/visual art and creative technology, the NEA often focuses on community-based programs that increase access to art as well as artistic education for youth. It’s easy to see that while Kickstarter may have just as much monetary clout as a government agency, its crowdfunding model prohibits it from exerting any influence on the kinds of projects that get money. We need a world in which both NEA and crowdfunding platforms help to flood our lives with useful and beautiful art.
As Strickler told Talking Points Memo, the amount of money Kickstarter distributes this year is a number that they view “in both a good and a bad way.” Yes, Kickstarter can drive as much money to the arts as a federal agency, which means that more artists will have money for projects. “But maybe it shouldn’t be that way,” Strickler says, “Maybe there’s a reason for the state to strongly support the arts.”