Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

DOWN TO EARTH: On Asheville Butoh Festival's website, the featured dance is described as "a postmodern movement in which formal dance technique is eschewed in favor of primal and idiosyncratic styles that transform the human body and allow raw mental energies to come into being." Image from Asheville Butoh Festival's crowdfunding page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Asheville Butoh Festival

Presented by Legacy Butoh and the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre, the 2017 Asheville Butoh Festival will showcase a primal, avant-garde Japanese style of bodily expression through four days (Thursday-Sunday, April 20-23) of performances and workshops at the Bebe Theatre. This 11th iteration of the event features guests artists Paul Michael Henry of Scotland and Ken Mai of Japan (via Finland) in addition to local butoh dancers Sara Baird, Jenni Cockrell, Constance Humphries and Julie B. Gillum. Humphries launched the project’s crowdfunding page. She aims to raise $3,200 in tax-deductible donations to cover production costs for this “unique and important festival.”

Image of Constance Humphries from her campaign page
Image of Constance Humphries from her campaign page

UNCA students’ solar charging station

For a senior design project, a group of UNC Asheville students — Anastasia Loomis, Ariel Levy, Ellen Moles, Joe Zayatz, Ethan Wilmoth, On’esmas Mungai, Stephen Check and Rose Anderson — are working to create an eco-friendly alternative to stuffy studying habits. “The workload that many students undertake prevents them from getting outside into the sunlight and fresh air,” Loomis writes on the team’s crowdfunding page. “Laptops tether students to an electrical outlet because technology is required to complete most homework. This means studying outside is rare and short-lived.” The students reason that open-air learning could have positive effects on mental health, and so they’ve designed a mobile station whose two solar panels can charge multiple devices while providing a patch of shade and a comfortable thinking environment. Loomis and her peers have already surpassed their $2,000 goal and will use extra earnings to add a high-quality UNCA logo to their final product.

Image from campaign page
Image from campaign page

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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