Deborah Gavel, one of ArtSpark’s artists, writes in this post about her experiences around her successful Kickstarter campaign. Thanks Deborah for your behind-the-scenes view!

“Recently, I read an essay by a brilliant woman who is in part one of the original thinkers about the gift economy. Her name is Genevieve Vaughan, she writes that it is a possibility that the origin of the word “community” comes from an old word, “muni,” meaning gift. She thinks that community could translate to mean co-gifting each other.

Isn’t that a lovely thought?

When my Kickstarter project launched March 1st, I didn’t have the slightest idea what to expect. I followed some good editing suggestions from a couple close confidants and ArtSpark insights, then let it go. OMG! The experience has been so much more fruitful than my imagination had allowed; for this desert dweller, it feels like I arrived at an oasis. Something bloomed in my heart with the response to this project and in a new way, I finally understand the potential power of the web! I see connections can be far reaching with this technology, social media is remarkable, but it does require a sincere personal outreach. My backers include friends from high school; from college; from grad school; former students; current clients and Albuquerque friends. And the possibility is there to reach an even wider audience, check out the kickstarter page for the artist/activist Ai Weiwei for an example of the potential scope.”

“The Kickstarter template is easy to use and the tools for communicating with your backers using photos and videos are simple to create as well; graphically it comes out looking pretty slick with a click or two. I think that is a big part of the response factor for folks on the receiving end, it is pleasing to the eye for visual types and that lifts some design pressure off you in making your project video. I must admit though, there is a part of me that wishes my video were more polished, but in the end, maybe the amateur quality worked in my favor.

The most exciting moments of the month were getting messages in my email box that “so-in-so has just pledged….” Whether it was $1 or $100 didn’t matter, knowing someone took the time to make a pledge of support was so uplifting. When you make a pledge, as I have found from pledging to other projects, there is an immediate feeling of camaraderie that you are helping someone realize their dream, that you’re part of a team, connecting with something larger creatively and co-gifting each other. It’s cool! And you get into an ongoing conversation with the artist, through their updates, about the progress of their project. In the process for me, a whole new world opened up, I sold one of my recent paintings (still wet in the video,) and received other benefits adding up to far beyond my original goal. I would like to thank ArtSpark for planting the seed that has bloomed this spring.

When I return from the Redwood Forest, I will write more, about how to decide on rewards, i.e., finding the right balance between a generous gift and the time it takes to create it.”

"OMG, OMG" by Deborah Gavel