In the current economic climate where public funding for the arts is experiencing a steady decline, Kickstarter provides a tremendous windfall for many artists.
Founded in 2009, Kickstarter is a funding platform that allows everyone from artists and designers to filmmakers and musicians to seek donations from the public for their creative projects. Since its inception, the site has received more than $500 million to successfully fund more than 35,000 projects.
Many Asian American artists and organizations use Kickstarter to help realize their dreams. For example, Mei Mei Street Kitchen raised more than $30,000 to help expand its food truck into a sustainable and environmentally-friendly restaurant, and the Divided Families Film Project raised more than $23,000 to chronicle the stories of Korean Americans who were separated from their families in North Korea by the Korean War.
The crop of Asian American ventures currently pursuing backing is a diverse lot that covers books, music and dance. Chinese American artist Brian Foo is trying to complete “Continuous City,” an illustrated book that explores re-imagined versions of New York City through painting, writing, architecture and programming.
YouTube music sensation Inhyeok Yeo, is hoping his album, which features his a cappella versions of great American pop songs, will help him become the first Korean GRAMMY winner. Alternatively, “Courage” is an Indian classical dance performance by choreographer Rasika Kumar that draws from Hindu mythology, Indian history, American history and current world events to depict the resilience of the human spirit.
With resources like Kickstarter, the potential to transform imagination into reality has never been more possible. Companies like Verizon are also doing their part to identify and support new ideas. Through its Powerful Answers Award, Verizon is offering $10 million for the most innovative solutions in healthcare, education and sustainability in today’s world.