On Crowd Funding
I used to cart a data projector, a dvd player and five speakers including a subwoofer in a suitcase large enough for myself to fit into in foetal position. I would drag this cumbersome and awkward kit to church halls, school seminar rooms, people’s back yards and lounge rooms in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Tokyo, showing bits of work in progress on dvd and pitching the story of Chika Honda, a Japanese woman who spent ten and a half years in prisons in Melbourne for a crime she insisted she did not commit.
Performers from CHIKA also came to many of our larger fundraising nights to entertain our potential sponsors and friends became fundraising managers. At the end of the gathering, we would pass around a pouch and ask them to contribute any amount of cash or cheque. Organised in a tupperware party fashion, we liaised with our hosts for each fundraising event who invited their friends who thought may like to take part in realising an arts project. The list of contributors grew over time.
Recently CHIKA was invited to take part in Festival Salihara in Jakarta. Once again I found myself the need to raise the funds to make up the shortfall to take a team of 6 to Jakarta. However, unlike before, there are now internet based crowd funding sites that videos can be linked to, making it unnecessarily to spend many hours convincing people to leave their homes to be somewhere at a certain time and with the possibility that sometimes expenses such as providing refreshments outweighed contributions.
I decided to try an Australian based company for creative projects called Pozible, who’s site was easy to navigate, very friendly and efficient. On couple of occasions when I had some queries, they replied to my emails within couple of hours and there was a real person at the other end.
The donations came very quickly and efficiently. Within days we reached our target amount, and in the end, including the donations that came in directly to my bank account (some people did not want to go through the process on the internet), I covered all costs and were able to pay some humble artist fees.
I think part of its success came because I did not bulk email my request to donate. Like old fashioned Christmas cards, I wrote to almost everyone I knew individually, remembering each and everyone of them, and then directing them to the Pozible website. The CHIKA cast joined in on my efforts.
Whether it be fundraising events tupperware party style or crowd funding via internet, the support mostly came from people we knew – friends, colleagues and their friends. It helped that the Chika Honda story is that of human rights and that the art contributes to making our world a better place for everyone.
In a world where much of our practice is judged by its financial success, asking individuals to donate money is very humbling. It can go against our ego driven mode of wanting to be seen as a sustainable and thus successful artist.
But the most amazing thing about fund raising is that when the contributions come through, the artist feels supported by their community, encouraged to go on, and grateful that we are able to practice our art. This is most special.
With sincere thanks to our recent supporters that made our performances in Jakarta possible:
|Akiko Hiratsuka||Linda Luke|
|Ako Ganivet||Lorna Kaino|
|Ann MacArthur||Mary-Jane Field|
|Anne Grantham||Matt Rooke|
|Anne Norman||Merlinda Bobbis|
|Annette Shun Wah||Michael Amendolia|
|Ben Hills||Russell Emerson|
|Christine Piper||Ryoko Adachi|
|Dhondup Tsering||Ryuichi Fujimura|
|Dik Mayhew||Sachiko Hirayama|
|Dwight Dowda||Sala Sawada|
|Emi Otsuji||Sarah, Vic & Holly McEwan|
|Festival Salihara||Sayuri Tokuman|
|Fiona Winning||Shingo Usami|
|Fumiko Matsui||Shoko Nagami|
|Gail Bryant||Shoko Ono|
|Grant Cleary||Shun Tanaka|
|Hideko Nakamura||Terry Ashman|
|Hiromi Ashlin||Tokiko Kiyota|
|Hiromi Kurosaka||Tony Lewis|
|Hitomi Kurosawa||Toshiko Shimizu|
|Indigo Willing||Tramindo Pty Ltd|
|Izumi Ibayashi||Tseen Khoo|
|Japan Foundation, Jakarta||Tsuchiya Family|
|John Romeril||Victoria Spence|
|Julie Murakami||Vienna Del Rosario Parreno|
|Jun Hamana||Wakako Asano|
|Kaz Preston||William Yang|
|Kazuki Watanabe||Yasuko Nakagawa|
|Kazuko Chalker||Yuji Sone|
|Keiko Tamura||Yuka Funabashi|
|Ken and Julia Yonetani||Yuko Yamamoto|
|Keng Fun Loh||Yumi Sakauchi|
|Kikuko Ota||Yumiko Uozu|
|Kuni Sekiguchi||Yuriko Nagata|
|Larry Lim||Yushiro Mizukoshi|
Our full list of supporters since 2002 is on the CHIKA website here: http://chika.asia/thankYou.html
ARTISTS: Mayu Kanamori, Macolm Blaylock, Yumi Umiumare,Thomas Fitzgerald., Keith Tucker, Satsuki Odamura, Anne Norman, Toshinori Sakamoto, Nick Franklin, Andrei Shabunov and Chris Harris. Video by Jon Armstrong.
CHIKA: A Documentary Performance was originally funded in 2002 by Australia Council for the Arts’ then New Media Arts Board for its creative development and assisted in-kind and in commission by ABC Radio National.
Presentation of CHIKA: A Documentary Performance by the OzAsia Festival at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2008 has lead to our recent opportunity in Jakarta
All photographs from Jakarta performances by Festival Salihara Archives / Witjak Widi
Categorised as: IDEAS