Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

LOCAL COLOR: Friends of local artist Phil Cheney have repeatedly suggested that he present his illustrations in a coloring book format, and he's finally taking their advice. "I didn't want to make 10,000 copies, and I certainly want to maintain creative control," he says. "So, I'm making a limited number of hand-drawn, locally printed and hand-bound editions." The first of those is available through Kickstarter now. Image from Cheney'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.

Phil Cheney’s coloring book

Is there really something about aging that makes coloring books less enjoyable? Hopefully not, for local artist Phil Cheney’s sake. He’s releasing the first edition of a series that’s recommended for colorers up to age 122. (“After that, you’re on your own,” he writes on his campaign page.) The longtime illustrator, whose zany style lends itself to this application, will include 23 new drawings based on his previous works from the past two decades. Cheney has already exceeded his $5,000 goal, but pre-orders and other perks will remain available through his crowdfunding deadline of Thursday, May 19.

Helmet Halo

When motorcyclist David Turner spent $40 replacing his helmet’s cracked mouth piece in 2012, he realized that the safety accessory was also a financial investment. And that began his quest to prevent further damage between rides. “There was nothing online, in stores, anywhere — nothing designed to cradle and protect my helmet that was also portable, lightweight and tidy when not in use,” his website reads. But by early 2016, Turner had refined his own solution: the Helmet Halo. This flexible cylinder can stabilize a helmet that’s lying on most surfaces and when it’s time to ride, fits inside a pocket or on a carabiner. Turner has already completed his first production run in black, but he aims to raise $2,500 by Wednesday, May 18, to manufacture the next batch in multiple colors.

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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