Summer Funding

Robert Dawson. Library Built by Ex-Slaves, Allensworth CA

In these perilous times for art and culture funding, I find myself thinking a lot about sustainability and creative funding, particularly in the bibliographic realm.

One of my fascinations in the few idle moments of the summer was scanning projects on the crowd-source funding site for creative ideas Kickstarter.

If you have not looked at projects funded by Kickstarter, you are missing a remarkable phenomenon for micro-philanthropy of the arts. Also, I have learned about films and books and artists who I might not otherwise have heard of.

Naturally, a few of the campaigns proved irresistible, but there are three that were inspired by the same ideals that are fueling the ICP Library that I wanted to mention.

 The Uni: A Portable Open Air Reading Room for Public Space is a terrific design for creating modular pop-up libraries – complete with seating and screening facilities in cites. WHAT is NOT to love about that? ICP Library is a close neighbor to the open air library in Bryant Park, and no librarian could fail to get pleasure from that kind of enterprise – pro-actively “taking the mountain to Mohammed,” as my grandmother would say! I sort of want one of these, myself!

American Commons: Photographing Libraries Across the Nation is a remarkable photobook project that has been 17 years in the making by Robert Dawson. Not just pretty portraits of libraries, although pretty they are. Dawson is the kind of research zealot artist we in the ICP Library treasure, and work to provide for. His campaign included a thoughtful plea for the American Library at a moment people need them more than ever. The campaign provided for a classic summer sojourn, as he set out across the USA this summer with his son to complete the photography. The forthcoming book is already on the top of my desiderata list.

Dawson’s blog was also on my electronic summer reading list!

Correspondence: Takeaway Artist’s Book was a modest sized campaign with a great aim: to create two free artist books for a gallery exhibition as “takeaways.” First, I love the format of the books – one of the purest things there is in all artist books, and the one I love showing people. Second, I love giving books away. Ask anyone. I do whenever I can, and so I supported the campaign, got my own copies of both books and when they arrived was as pleased as I can be with their beauty. Thank you, Carrie Iverson!

Even if you cannot spare a sou, the site is a rich source of information about what people are thinking about and making throughout the USA.

If you find you have a few bucks, you will find that in many of these cases you can make a difference for a tiny sum. Kickstarter ensures that the bar is low to participate.

And that is the beauty of books and libraries, as well – they are so very affordable for all that they provide!

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About Deirdre Donohue

Stephanie Shuman Librarian International Center of Photography Follow on Twitter @icplibrary
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One Response to Summer Funding

  1. Dorothy O'Beirne says:

    Thanks for this interesting posting.
    I first became aware of Kickstarter this summer through the funding campaign for Vincent Cianni’s photo project “Gays in the Military: How America Thanked Me”.
    Dorothy O’Beirne

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