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How to Be a Broke-Ass Patron of the Arts

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Whenever I played the “If I won the lottery…” game, my second act in my newfound wealth, after buying a modern loft condo in both New York and LA, was to be a patron of the arts; buy a museum wing, donate money to build a theater, etc. Being fairly broke, I could never imagine my money doing something for the arts other than the money I would spend on the ticket.
I’ve recently discovered the wonder of fundraising websites for fundraising, and I am hooked. Specifically, I am talking about  IndieGoGo. Sure, asking for donations through the internet or website is not a new thing, but these sites set up a platform and system for the individuals or organizations that wouldn’t normally have their own campaign, and does it in the style of social media. I’ve browsed through many of these projects and been able to give as little as a dollar. It may seem trivial, but I know it definitely helps because the more I give and show support on my twitter or facebook, the more others will see it and give money. Even if everyone only gives a dollar, the campaign reaches enough people that even dollar donations will add up quickly. Sure, these sites aren’t completely selfless- they take a cut of whatever the user raises. It makes sense, they need to make money, but most projects would have never raised money without them in the first place. Again, so why is this awesome for Broke-Asses? It’s a great place to set up a campaign for a small art project, goal, or organization you want to raise money for. The success depends on your dedication, willingness to give updates, and a creative pitch.

My personal life goal is to publish a book (and be among good company). Of course, the writing a book technically doesn’t cost any money, unless you count all the coffee I buy during my writing frenzies. In order to be serious about doing this, I will actually need the funds, to self-publish, to promote, and even to pay for two weeks away to sequester myself to get a majority of the book written. After I set up my campaign, I felt weird asking people for money, but now I think of it as giving people the opportunity to support me who believe in the subject matter (and believe me, it is a very, very niche interest.) Having the IndieGoGo campaign also keeps me accountable for actually getting the damn thing done- since people payed, they are expecting me to produce something! That’s a good kick in the pants to get me to finally write this thing if there ever was one.

Here are some of the most interesting campaigns I came across (aside from mine, of course!)

THEATER: Leaving Ikea: (Brooklyn) “A coming out gone wrong, an angry gnome, and two hundred pounds of Swedish meatballs: welcome to IKEA, friends. As two couples venture through their local Swedish superstore, they become trapped in a blue and yellow purgatory; unable to escape until they solve the problems in their ailing relationships.”

THEATER: Showgirls in Drag (Los Angeles): Because the only thing better than seeing this masterpiece is seeing it live. And with drag queens. “Do you like my nails?”

WEBSITE: providing advice and support for LGBT teens through humor and education.

SMALL BUSINESS: The Can Van: a mobile canning service for craft breweries in San Francisco. Need I say more?

COMIC: Stiffs: The Apocalypse Party: “ Horror-comedy with the undead and a talking monkey. What more could you possibly want?” Not much.

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Robin Hardwick - Cost-Conscious Connoisseur

Robin Hardwick - Cost-Conscious Connoisseur

Robin was raised in the shopping malls of suburban Long Island, New York. As a teenager, her life goals were to become a writer and marry Bret Michaels. After attending college at the University of Delaware (yes, in the state of Delaware) and earning a graduate degree educationl at NYU, she's achieved only one of those goals. Along with writing, Robin enjoys performing improv comedy, internet memes, cross-stitch, and showing off her alarmingly extensive knowledge of obscure pop culture trivia. Currently, Robin resides in Oakland, CA and is writing a book about the 1980s teen book series, Sweet Valley High.