Thursday, April 26, 2018
Opinion

Kickstarter, Indiegogo help local projects

Filmmaker Spike Lee did it. So have countless other nameless groups in search of funding to launch worthy art and film projects.

Crowdfunding is growing in popularity and two of the top sites are kickstarter.com and indiegogo.com.

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fund: Reach the goal, the money's yours, but fall short and all the money goes back to the folks who tried to offer help. On the other hand, indiegogo is a "keep it all" fund — even if the project falls short of the goal.

Here in the Sunshine City, I learned of at least three projects with looming deadlines that are worthy of consideration.

The projects' origins stem from members of the city's growing arts community.

• The most ambitious project belongs to partners Scott Durfee and George Medeiros. This month, they launched a campaign with a $10,000 goal on kickstarter.com.

Their company, Spathose, was invited to the American Craft Retailers Expo trade show in January in Orlando.

Though they're excited about the opportunity to showcase their brand, the fees associated with pulling everything together can be costly. So launching the project on kickstarter.com was their best option.

Spathose creates unique, abstract designs with an industrial edge. Their artwork and fashion accessories have been on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg and other art venues throughout the bay area.

They now want to branch out and expand the brand in the accessories industry and to show, for the first time, a line of unique wearable sculpture at ACRE.

Broken Lives Illustrated is a collaborative project by filmmaker Nick Brengle and artist Jake Troyli.

The project takes a snapshot of the lives of 12 homeless people in St. Petersburg.

The two met years ago at Pinellas Park High School, where Troyli was a basketball star and Brengle was the announcer at the games.

They reconnected in August at the opening of Troyli's art exhibit at the [email protected] and agreed to collaborate on a project.

"In the essence, we just want to show the beauty in these people," Troyli said. "Even with broken lives, there is beauty."

The project will include a multimedia presentation that features the homeless as well as a time lapse of Troyli sketching his subjects. That work will later be on display and will come to life as the homeless tell their stories.

Some of the money will actually help the homeless. Brengle and Troyli have reached out to Hannah's Homeless, a nonprofit that focuses on providing food, clothing, blankets and needed hygiene items to homeless people in and around St. Petersburg.

• One project that won't be sweating as a deadline looms is Handmade Sculptural & Functional Pottery: for artful living and artful giving.

Wendy Durand's artwork has been accepted into the Buyer's Market of American Craft set for January in Philadelphia.

"It's the premier trade show for wholesaling any type of craft. The show draws 2,000 designers and galleries with about 5,000 representatives from those galleries. It could really boost your exposure," Durand said.

According to Durand, the difference between selling pieces at the studio and taking orders at a trade show are like night and day. Buyers purchase or order the artwork at the show — so a vendor can return home with a huge work order.

Durand said she's humbled by the outpouring of support.

"People in the community have been so generous," she said.

"Some of the backers are people I know,'' Durand said. "I've had artists who gave me a dollar, saying they wish they could give more. The money is important because I need it to get there, but it's really about the community."

There's still time to help each of the projects.

• • •

If you've had a hankering for an empanada or your supply of Tupelo honey is running low, never fear: Saturday Morning Market returns this week in downtown St. Petersburg.

It's hard to imagine that the Saturday Morning Market — the largest farmers market in the state — has been around for more than a decade. In its 11th year, the market runs from Saturday through May 31.

What started out as an urban village of nearly 30 vendors in 2002, has grown to 200 vendors rotating through 130 spaces.

A new addition this year: A new vendor will be flying in fresh truffles from Italy. The market is held each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot at Progress Energy Park, First Street at First Avenue SE, the home of Al Lang Field.

Visit saturdaymorningmarket.com.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8874. Follow @StPeteSandi on Twitter.

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