Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Local artist Nora Hartlaub depicts horses enveloped in color in much of her work. The miniature versions, she says, represent individuals' relationships with memory, nostalgia, gender roles and power. Excerpt image from Hartlaub's “Collection” courtesy of the artist

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.

Nora Hartlaub’s equestrian statue

Local artist and educator Nora Hartlaub’s invitation to participate in the 2015 Terrain Biennial, a collection of dozens of installations aside residences and storefronts nationwide, is a “huge stepping stone” for the aspiring creative. The statue she’s planning for Asheville builds on a previous body of work that includes painted-on horse images and mini horse figurines enveloped in nebulous clouds of color. These pieces, Hartlaub says, reflect her “ongoing investigation into the visual nature of memory, nostalgia, gender roles and power.” While the small works represent “the miniaturized, intimate and personal relationship between the self and these concepts,” her Terrain Biennial exhibit (a life-sized rearing horse encapsulated by color atop a custom concrete pedestal) invokes the collective human connection with those ideas. Hartlaub aims to raise $4,500 by Wednesday, July 1, to purchase materials and other resources for the art project.

Gypsy Queen Cuisine’s new home

After four mobile years, Gypsy Queen Cuisine food truck owner Suzy Phillips is ready to park her operation inside a brick-and-mortar storefront. That happens in August, at 807-A Patton Ave. (formerly Zinger’s) in West Asheville. “This means consistency and dependability,” she writes on her campaign page. “Rain or shine, winter or summer, we will be here in one spot to feed your need and love for our delicious Lebanese food!” Phillips also landed a contract with Whole Foods to distribute her dips, salads, sauces, soups, felafels and more from within the grocery chain. “This is a long-time dream coming true!” she writes. Phillips aims to raise $25,000 by Thursday, July 2, to cover kitchen equipment and supplies, interior design, a catering van and an industrial food processor to fulfill Whole Foods’ orders.

Spheres of Influence board game

If you categorize board games as bland, think again. The makers of a new board game called Spheres of Influence: Struggle for Global Supremacy describe their tabletop pastime as “a free-for-all area of control game that combines the thrill of global ambitions, cut-throat diplomacy, and the daring opportunism of classic war games with a fast-paced dynamic turn structure that keeps players constantly on their toes.” Employing nearly 1,000 game pieces, the intricate game sees up to eight players competing to control land, sea and oil on a world map. Local independent game developer Little Nuke Games aims to raise $35,000 by Thursday, July 2, to manufacture and release the company’s latest action-packed creation.

Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective comic series

Six-issue comic series Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective follows an ex-police robot as he transitions into private-eye detective work on “the harsh streets of Future City.” Written by by Matt D. Wilson, illustrated by Kevin Warren and designed by Dylan Todd, the issues have already been published digitally. However, the creative team’s intent “has always been to collect those issues in print,” reads their crowdfunding campaign page. “But various roadblocks — the series being mostly in black and white, for one — made it tough to secure a print edition through a traditional comics publisher.” Accordingly, the trio aims to raise $5,000 by Wednesday, July 1, to pay for printing, shipping and “lingering page rates” for Warren and Todd.

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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