Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

MANY MELODIES: Jeff Knorr was in the house band for Asheville Music Hall's popular Tuesday Night Funk Jam in addition to performing with other acts around Asheville. Image from crowdfunding page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up 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.

Jeff Knorr memorial scholarship

From kind words onstage to song dedications and full-on events, a multitude of tributes to Jeff Knorr have sprung up since his recent, unexpected passing. In addition, a group of friends has launched a crowdfunding initiative in honor of Knorr, who was a musician, audio engineer, music producer and all around staple in the local arts scene. Funds raised will pay for three summer programs at his alma mater Berklee College of Music in 2018, organizers explain on the campaign page. Donations can be submitted online, or checks can be made out to Asheville Music Professionals (write “Jeff Knorr Memorial Scholarship” in the memo section, and mail to 175 Patton Ave., Asheville, N.C. 28801). Organizers have set a goal of $10,000 for this educational fund.

Friends and family gathered at Salvage Station on Sunday, July 30, to celebrate the life of Jeff Knorr.
Friends and family gathered at Salvage Station on Sunday, July 30, to celebrate the life of Jeff Knorr. Photo by JW Powell

Black Star Line Brewing

Beyond just beer, Black Star Line Brewing hopes to create social transformation. Owned by black, queer activist L.A. McCrae, the nano brewery will host a business incubator program for African Americans. Plus, McCrae writes on the crowdfunding page, “Our social mission focuses on building within underserved communities and partnering with folks who are often naturally manufacturers, culinary artists and brew creatives. These untapped resources are our partners in the pursuit of emancipation and liberation.” The entrepreneur has already partnered with Sanctuary Brewing to begin production in Hendersonville (though McCrae may find a permanent home in Charlotte). The brewer also launched the Black Brewers Guild, which will bring resources and support to black brewers beyond WNC. McCrae hopes to begin introducing the public to Black Star Line’s menu of brews — eight year-round beers, four seasonal offerings and three non-alcoholic, botanical beverages — by late September, but before that, the brewer aims to raise $25,000 for brewing equipment, legal counsel, ingredients, initial staffing expenses and costs associated with hosting the inaugural Black Brewers Gathering.

Uni-Rex apparel and accessories

Doing her part to “keep Asheville weird,” Sarah Lambert has partnered with illustrator Joshua Allen to create the Uni-Rex — a unicorn-dinosaur hybrid that serves as a mascot for irregular folks. In particular, Lambert recommends the Uni-Rex for individuals who “long to be dainty, but have no grace and 12-inch long, serrated teeth,” or those who “would love to frolic, or go into a murderous rage, but just can decide which.” She aims to raise $2,000 by Sunday, Aug. 20, to have the inspirational creature printed on shirts, stickers, buttons and more.

Image from crowdfunding page
Image from crowdfunding 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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