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Getting kick-started at Vermont Studio Center Artists use funding platform to pursue artistic dreams STORY / Kate Carter


Any poor starving artist pursuing his or her artistic passion needs studio space, food and shelter, time to create and, most importantly, money. Vermont Studio Center in Johnson has the first four covered. They award studio residencies to over 50 artists and writers per month. The residencies include private studio space, private rooms, excellent food, and up to 12 weeks to create art. The center also offers financial aid to cover some of the costs, but most artists and writers pay their own way. The fees are substantial, approximately $1,000 per week, and for many, that’s an insurmountable obstacle. Enter Kickstarter, a worldwide crowd-funding platform for creative types. As of 2012, about 32 artists used Kickstarter to raise the funds needed to attend the Vermont Studio Center, and a handful of others are currently in the midst of Kickstarter campaigns. Without Kickstarter, Boston painter Emma Balder couldn’t have attended her month-long residency. Friends from school suggested she give it a try. “I really needed the money. It’s a good chunk of change,” she notes. The most surprising aspect to Kickstarter for Emma was the number of people she didn’t know who donated. “You really have to be proactive and let people know you’re doing it. You need to reach out to new people every day and not be afraid to ask for money,” she says, and adds that to be successful you need to explain your mission clearly, present yourself professionally, and check in daily to see if there’s been any online activity. “Being here at the Studio Center has given me hope that I can make a career in the arts, whether it’s as a full-time studio artist, a teacher, or something with art therapy,” Emma says, “but I know I do want to continue my studio work.” Emma’s goal was to raise $2,000. She topped that

Profile for Stowe Guide & Magazine

Stowe Guide & Magazine Winter/Spring 2014-15  

Stowe Guide & Magazine Winter/Spring 2014-15