Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Asheville artist Cole Drewes says he likes pin-up photography's association with positive female body images. He hopes to sell his pin-up-inspired series in local galleries and online in addition to donating some of the prints to a veteran support nonprofit. Image from Drewes' campaign 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.


“To me, a woman is beautiful when she is comfortable with who she is,” says visual artist Cole Drewes on his crowdfunding page, “and I feel that the artistic style of pin-up photography and artwork embodies that ideal.” To achieve his final product, Drewes converts photos of female models into stencils, which he then uses to cut out a hand painted pattern. The resulting, seemingly illustrated piece is then scanned into digital format before Drewes adds a “vintage background” (typically a copy of an old book page) to make the piece look time-worn. In addition to donating 5 percent of his earnings back to the Kickstarter community, the local artist will give several prints to Pinups for Vets — a nonprofit benefiting hospitalized veterans — for their use in fundraising. Drewes has surpassed his $500 goal before the Friday, March 27 deadline. Funds will be used to make prints and send donations to the partner nonprofit.


“I believe every woman wants a dress that no one else has [and] I pride myself on having clothes that will fit so many different types of women’s bodies,” says Stina Anderson, a local designer who says she started altering garments in college as her peers gained their ‘freshmen fifteen.’ Now she’s hoping to upgrade from a 10-foot by 10-foot tent to a mobile boutique in order to make her fashion show displays more seamless. “I believe in designing clothes from scratch, using locally-sourced fabrics,” she says, adding that her specialty is “original, artistic garments that are made from materials that otherwise might get discarded.” Anderson aims to raise $15,950 by Sunday, March 2 to purchase a fully up-fitted fashion truck.


Suffering, poverty, crime, drug trafficking — these are the plagues that filmmaker Brian Olson associated with Honduras before he made three personal visits. “I decided there was a story to be told of this country – one contrary to what is being told in the media,” he says on his crowdfunding page. “Honduran culture is rooted in humility, honesty, and hard work.” Accordingly, Honduras: The Other Face explores citizens’ positive efforts toward farming, food security and entrepreneurship and also documents Hondurans’ “human experiences and history.” Not only will Olson’s fundraiser cover the storytelling film, but he also plans to provide an ambulance to one community and create a series of instructional videos (beekeeping, jewelry making, cacao pressing, woodworking, etc.) to empower Hondurans to build their own careers. Olson aims to raise $25,000 by Sunday, March 29.


Hebel is a collective of Montreat College students who describe their genre as orchestral rock. Comprised of founding multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Trenton Durham “and a myriad of other friends,” the Christian band estimates that mixing, mastering, producing and shipping their debut studio album Under the Sun will cost around $3,000 — a sum the band aims to raise by Tuesday, March 31.

Under the Sun










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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