Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

"I want to tour and play music to as many people as I possibly can," says violinist and vocalist Priya Ray. Vintage photo of Ray from her campaign 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.


Priya Ray has been active in and passionate about underground music since her earliest performances with Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa in Miami more than two decades ago. Now an Asheville musician and photographer, Ray struggles with mobility issues due to a debilitating spinal injury that occurred in 1999. The violinist and vocalist requires a “handicapable” van to independently tour, pursue photography and continue planning benefits for organizations like Food Not Bombs and Foundation for Freedom.

She also hopes to be an inspirational speaker for others with physical and mental disabilities. “With your help, I can show the world that having a disability doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life,” she says in her campaign video. Ray aims to raise $45,000 by Sunday, Feb. 8, to purchase a wheelchair accessible van.


“In the wake of recent [racially charged] events, we desire to create a film promoting unity, understanding and diversity against the backdrop of racism, ignorance and violence,” reads the campaign page for social justice group FUSE’s film Turn Up My Radio. The plot follows individuals of different races working on a bluegrass and hip-hop fusion project — a collaboratively documented story that producer Rob Wilkins hopes will contribute to the elimination of racial stereotypes. Wilkins’ team aims to raise $2,500 by Tuesday, Feb. 3, for equipment, catered meals on location and modest stipends for key performers.

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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4 thoughts on “Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

  1. luluthebeast

    Why is this Crowdfunding ad in the movie section? And at the top at that. When I first opened up I didn’t know what section I was in. Not that this might not be a good cause, I think it should be in OPINION or LIVING, not in MOVIES.

    • Kat McReynolds

      Lulu, Faces in the crowd is an article, and most of Xpress’ online content includes ads now (in all sections). This particular article was categorized in the movies section because one of the crowdfunding campaigns is raising money for a film project.

  2. luluthebeast

    I’ll take your word for it, but it read more more like an article and one that one should be sceptical about. I have a developmentally disabled daughter and if you had seen as many scams as I have you would probably question it as well.

  3. I assure you this is not a scam. Priya has lived in Asheville for 3 1/2 years, has been an active part of the community, has played violin and sang in “Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa” for over 23 years and despite often dealing with sevre neuropathic pain has helped foster and support others in the community. She is active spokesperson for disability rights and awareness and donates her time to Disability Partners.

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