In this essay, I examine the creative funding landscape, using Kickstarter as a lens through which to explore questions of value, community, and the link between arts and commerce.
Some of the topics I cover include: what the best source of funding might be for creative projects; how we can (and can’t) measure or approximate the types of value and incentives that lead people to back such projects; the special hybrid of gift and market economies, and the nascent web of networks and communities, that Kickstarter engenders; and the applicability of potential models of “equity” to the space between Kickstarter and the venture capital-driven world of startups.
My starting premise is that Kickstarter is the most successful model we currently have for supporting creative projects; the purpose of this essay is to interrogate that assumption, to consider the reasons behind the company’s success and continued growth, and think about what solutions the future might bring as various funding platforms continue to evolve.
I’d like to talk about the present and future state of funding for creative endeavors. I speak with a fair amount of both first and secondhand knowledge, but am constantly learning more about the full implications of the myriad platforms, systems, opportunities, and pitfalls that are evolving daily. If this topic interests you as well, I’d love for you to join me in the conversation.
The big question that I take as a starting point is: on whom does the arts-funding onus lie? Who do we want to fund creative projects, who is realistically capable of it, and who do we expect will do it? I suspect there may be many answers to each question. But the core question seems to be: should market forces dominate, or are creativity and art “greater goods” that society as a whole (read: government) must be obligated to support? Read More