Quality arts programs cost money. (Sometimes, lots of money.) Arts groups large and small, local and national, need far more than what tickets bring in to survive, so they have to go looking for money. But, according to ArtsFund, the Seattle-based arts-advocacy and grant-making organization, 85 percent of “arts consumers” don’t donate to the arts. And one of potential donors’ concerns is transparency: Are they paying for “Hamlet” done by humans, or by cats? ArtsFund is combining the crowdfunding model, which has been popular with musicians, writers and visual artists, with donors who might be hesitant about where money goes, or the entire donation process. On Oct. 1, the organization launched a fundraising drive called power2give, which has been used across the country.
The rules are pretty straightforward: select arts groups from King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties were chosen to post funding requests for a specific project, not operating expenses; they can’t ask for more than $7,500; ArtsFund, with a grant from the Raynier Institute & Foundation and other donors, is matching what individual donors give; and CORRECTED: groups that don’t reach their funding goal receive all donations that have been made to their projects, as well as all applicable matching funds. UPDATED: As of Monday afternoon, six projects have been fully funded, and “more than 200 donors have brought our six-day total to $54,442,” said Sarah Sidman, director of strategic initiatives and communications for ArtsFund, in an email.
Sample projects: Pacific Northwest Ballet is asking for $7,000 to commission a new ballet. Seattle Choral Company needs $3,745 for guardrails on its risers. Seattle Public Theater requests $7,499 for a new sound system.