Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

ALL NATURAL: Traveling sustainable art specialist Neil Goss creates art using natural materials like sticks and medicinal plant dyes. His Asheville art installation, planned for an outdoor space near Villagers in West Asheville, will be a large-scale painting, woven totem or woven spiderweb upon completion in late June. The medicinal properties of the piece's inputs will heal the earth as weathering occurs, he says. Photo of Goss by Nicholas Ward

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.

Neil Goss’ medicinal art tour

Kansas-based art professional Neil Goss is setting out an a trip across the country to “escape the gallery and make art for the earth, made from the earth, installed in the earth.” During the eight-stop tour, he and Ashevilleans Patty Urrutia and Clint Jackson will install art pieces made of “Earth materials” and colored with natural dyes boasting medicinal properties. “Upon the art being installed, the earth will begin reclaiming the fiber and dye through processes of weathering and degradation. In essence, the earth will begin to consume the dyes/medicine,” Goss explains. “This is how the healing space will be created.”

Goss and his crew will also hold an educational workshop in each city, documenting the journey as they go. Their Asheville visit includes a four-hour indigo dyeing lesson at Villagers on Sunday, June 28, from 5-9 p.m., for $35 per person.

Goss’ nomadic art team aims to raise $7,700 by Wednesday, June 17, to cover travel expenses, workshop and documentation costs, as well as Kickstarter rewards and fees.

Endor learning center

For those with little faith in “teach to the test” education, Endor has an alternative. It’s a self-directed learning environment — like a coworking space for teens, according to the volunteer staff behind the project. And it calls on youths to create and implement their own curriculum rather than subscribing to traditional teacher-student hierarchies. Peers, adult “facilitators,” and the school’s own resources (computers, craft supplies and so forth) aid participants in realizing their self-set goals throughout the course of their membership.

Endor’s team of facilitators aim to raise $3,000 by Friday, June 12, to attend a summer training session, provide Chromebooks for school participants and offer tuition support (further lowering the sliding-scale rates).

Asheville FM’s expansion

“As an all-volunteer organization, we have had a budget for the past five years of $15,200,” says Asheville FM station manager Kim Roney, calling the figure “the tiniest of all time” for an entire nonprofit. But  with the greater listenership from the online station’s recent graduation onto the airwaves comes increased expenses, including maintenance for the new tower. “This is an opportunity for people to celebrate with us,” Roney says regarding the fundraising campaign, noting that the station has already received positive feedback from new listeners.

One such channel surfer, Marilyn Lalor, sent an appreciative email and monetary donation upon discovering Asheville FM on 103.3. “It was just proof that we needed to go on the air,” says Roney. “We’ve been online successfully for the past six years, reaching people worldwide. But we felt like we weren’t really meeting the Asheville community, especially those who can’t afford the Internet.”

Asheville FM aims to raise $5,000 by Monday, June 15, to cover increasing operating costs like tower maintenance, music royalties, facilities and equipment. Eventually, station leaders hope to have paid staff. Perks include their first-ever logo pint glasses, T-shirts and other prizes.

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 WNC 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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