Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

RIGHT HAND TURN: Small tragedies and improved artistry often go hand-in-hand — sometimes literally. When classical musician Nathan Shirley broke one of his two portals to the piano, he developed a unique song concept that he hopes to feature as his next album's title track. Photo from Shirley's 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.

One Hand or Two?

When classical composer and pianist Nathan Shirley broke his right hand, he wrote a piece to occupy his functioning digits. The music reflected his frustrations with the healing process, but “by the time my right hand recovered, I decided to add a right hand part to this composition so that it could play along and rehabilitate itself,” he says on his campaign page. “Whereas the original version ends in lonely uncertainty, the two-hand version ends in triumph.” The artist’s next recording project, One Hand or Two?, is named after the work’s separate versions. He’ll include both of those along with works from his distant and recent past, experimental pieces on harpsichord and synthesizer, and one surprise number. Though Shirley has already surpassed his $1,400 goal to have the CD pressed after it’s recorded at a colleague’s home studio, he’ll use additional funds raised through Tuesday, May 10, to shoot, edit and release video footage of that recording session.

Crossing the Sabine

Though it’s not posted on Kickstarter, IndieGogo or any of the other usual crowdfunding haunts, Piper Jones Band’s new album Crossing the Sabine is being released in an unorthodox fashion that preserves the same backers-and-perks ethos. Bagpiper E.J. Jones is calling the initial collection his “prototype CD,” because after the album drops on Friday, May 13, he’ll release new versions of the songs online, some with additional guest artists. Over several months, he and frequent collaborator Frances Cunningham (bouzouki) will also go on immersive musical journeys spanning the U.S., France and Scotland. They’ll unveil two more albums upon return — one to highlight each musician — that include further evolved takes on the original compositions. Backers who order all three CDs for $50 get a password to the webpage where Jones will unveil “downloadable tracks, artwork and extra goodies.” Visit piperjones.com for details.

Photo by Dave Fimbres
Photo by Dave Fimbres

Paw it Forward

Asheville Humane Society has no shortage of adorable photos to use in its fundraising efforts, but this time, the shelter is asking supporters to spotlight their own furry best friends. “Upload your pet’s picture as the supporter photo on your donation page and use their playful and charming ‘voice’ to do the asking,” reads the Paw it Forward webpage. “At the end of the campaign, we will crown the pets who raised the most as our Top Pawlanthropists.” This interactive crowdfunding project has a $60,000 goal, which will be used to enhance existing care at the facility and expand programs for at-risk animals.

Pups Harry and Bess are top earners on Asheville Humane Society's Paw it Forward campaign
Pups Harry and Bess are top earners on Asheville Humane Society’s current fundraising initiative. Image from AHS 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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