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[liberationtech] Kickstarter Expects To Provide More Funding To The Arts Than NEA

Lina Srivastava lina at
Wed Feb 29 19:01:32 PST 2012

I'm not sure why it's important whether the headline is predictive or
actual (and particularly to this list). At any rate, as Lilly nicely points
out, the comparison is a bit false, since Kickstarter is a different model
than the NEA and other institutional funders. On the plus side it fills a
funding gap for all the creative industries. On the minus, it highlights
how we've crippled our government's ability to fund the creative
industries. This year Kickstarter is estimated, I believe, to funnel about
$50mil for "arts"-based projects and $100 for others, incl design, media,
publishing, etc. The NEA has $146mil in total for everything, including
field-building, convenings, production, etc.

>From my perspective for this list, the pertinent points this article raises
1) creative communities (and that includes some in the libtech community)
in the US should care about the level of funding and activities of the NEA,
particularly as it is expanding its parameters around what constitutes art,
creativity, and new media;
2) Kickstarter is a viable funding avenue, and a fantastic success in its
own right as a company, but the jury is still out on its viability as an
ongoing concern (and as a business model), and alsoit is a valuable service
for creatives but not a field-building organization;
3) You all on this list who are American and have "creative" elements in
your projects and products should consider both avenues when thinking about
funding your creative projects.

Thanks, Lina

On Wednesday, February 29, 2012, Lilly Irani wrote:

> Sorry to offend.
> It was the "to the Arts" that I was pointing to. Kickstarter is going to
> fund more projects in general than the NEA does, but NEA has a narrower
> scope.
> It was not at all the fault of the person who sent it along to the list.
> The headline of the piece itself is misleading.
> On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 5:42 PM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at>wrote:
> The headline clearly says "Kickstarter *Expects To* Provide More Funding
> To The Arts Than NEA" (bold is mine)
> I don't see what's misleading about that.  Sounds pretty clearly like a
> prediction to me.
> On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:52 PM, Lilly Irani <lilly.irani at>wrote:
> Also, if you read the article, the quote is actually:
> “It is probable Kickstarter will distribute more money this year than the
> NEA,”
> So 1) this is a prediction 2) this is across all sectors (including fun
> tea strainers and coffee cozies), not just the arts
> The headline for the piece, repeated in the subject line, is misleading
> Kickstarter is really amazing, but we need the facts straight.
> On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:28 PM, Lina Srivastava <lina at>wrote:
> Sorry for the late reply, but inasmuch as the NEA has lately been showing
> interest in innovations in media beyond film and television, into
> transmedia, serious games and educational games, and new media platforms
> for storyteling, journalism, and social networking, this might be of
> interest to some people on this list: Last month, I was on a review panel
> for the NEA Arts in Media grant cycle. I work at the intersection of
> culture, art, medis, technology, and activism, and they invited me on the
> panel primarily due to my work in transmedia design. The applications I saw
> weren't as staid as I had expected or feared, and some were rather
> technologically innovative, even including some aimed specifically at
> social benefit projects. I don't know what will eventually be funded, but I
> was heartened to see what American artists are creating and the dorection
> towards innovation the NEA is taking-- and I thought some American libtech
> projects incorporating creative and cultural elements might actually be a
> good fit in the NEA portfolio, whether for individual grant support or
> through their support of networks of organizations. The main thrust of the
> grants is still for artistic/cultural merit and excellence but the NEA
> seems to be expanding its scope of what constitutes art and culture, so I'd
> encourage some of you on this list to learn a bit more about its grant
> making and organizational support, and think about applying. I'd also
> encourage you think about advocating for the agency's continued health. As
> a country, we kind of need them.  To get back to David's original
> point, Kickstarter, indieGoGo, and other crowdfunding platforms have been a
> huge benefit to the creative communities, but it's a shame we've defunded
> the NEA to the level that its annual budget approximates the daily budget
> of the DoD. We still need a robust NEA for its support of small arts and
> cultural organizations, and its support of free cultural expression.
> On Friday, February 24, 2012, David Johnson wrote:
> Amazing news ...
> --
> David V. Johnson
> Web Editor
> Boston Review
> Website: ht <>

Lina Srivastava
--  |  twitter <>  |
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