Kickstarter gives legs to local projects
Stephanie Bartz has professionally photographed dogs for 15 years, and recently, created a coffee table book featuring 45 of her favorite images. She named the book "For The Love Of Dogs" and hopes to have it available later this year.
"It's a beautiful book for dog and art lovers alike," says Bartz. "I love photographing happy dogs that love to play."
The 78-page book features black and white photographs of a variety of dogs, including mutts, terriers, labs and pugs. Most of the images were displayed during one of Bartz's gallery or boutique shows over the years.
"I thought it'd be fun for people who enjoy my work to be able to have a collection in a coffee table book versus finding space on a wall or having to select just one image," says Bartz.
Bartz says she plans to sell the book at Magnolia & Co., 1422 Underwood Ave., and Waxwing, 4415 N. Oakland Ave., but will also donate many copies to hospice care, cancer care units and shelters.
"Buying this book will be a way for people to give back to the community," says Bartz.
With the help of Kickstarter, Bartz is hoping to print 50-60 copies of her book.
Kickstarter, a fundraising website for creative endeavors, was started in 2008 and is based in Manhattan. The Miami New Times jokingly said, "Kickstarter.com is one of the smartest ideas for a website since Al Gore invented the Internet."
Kickstarter facilitates the donation process and makes it easier for creatives. However, interested parties must apply to Kickstarter and have their projects approved according to Kickstarter guidelines before they appear on the site.
Project owners choose a deadline and the amount of money they want / need to raise, but if the target is not met by the deadline, no funds are collected. Pledges are paid via Amazon Payments and a person needs a United States bank account to have a project on Kickstarter.
Kickstarter takes 5 percent of the funds raised and Amazon charges an additional 3-5 percent. However, Kickstarter has no ownership of the projects or the work they produce.
Bartz says she knows other artists who used Kickstarter successfully, so she decided to give it a try.
"Because of the cost of self publishing, there is no other way to make this project happen without Kickstarter. I almost just did it on my own, DIY style, but this site has legs and can reach across the world," she says. "That would take me a lot of time and energy to do. Plus, keeping track of the pledges would be way too much when I'm running my business and having a life."
In general, Bartz says Milwaukee has been supportive of her projects and she has another idea on deck that may also require the help of Kickstarter.
"I'm thankful for all the love and support throughout the years in both the artist and local community. Milwaukee is pretty great that way," she says. "And Kickstarter is helping to take my project to the next level."
Mike Grath, a freelance graphic designer who lives in Waukesha, used Kickstarter last year to fund a graphic novel he created. He says it worked for him, and he raised his goal of $850.
"It was a fascinating process," he says. "And it beat having to hit up friends and family members face-to-face. I'm really not good at that at all."
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