It feels like it was only yesterday that I announced my plans to move on from my job with SFMOMA in order to do freelance work at the intersection of art and technology. Since I broke out on my own eight months ago, I’ve collaborated with a vast array of amazing people on some very compelling projects that blur the lines between curation, publishing, new media art and storytelling for the digital realm. I’ve learned so much, both about my professional area of expertise, as well as about myself. What it boils down to is my belief that right now, there is a huge amount of potential for creative culture to grow in some very big, very new ways – and I feel a need to contribute to that as much as I can.
I want to help build the future of creative culture, from the way it is supported, to the way it is championed, bolstered, shared, collaborated on, and written about. This is why I’m incredibly excited to announce that come February, I’ll be going to work for Kickstarter as a full-time curator on their communications team.
I’m thrilled to join up with the folks at Kickstarter for a number of reasons. Namely, Kickstarter is a mission-driven company that exists to help people bring creative projects into the world. They truly believe in the power of art and creativity to change lives, and they care about their impact on the world (did you hear they just became a Certified B Corporation?).
Kickstarter is changing the name of the arts-funding game, having raised over $1.45 billion to fund creative projects since the company was born in 2009. Not that surprisingly, the platform now raises more money for artists than the National Endowment for the Arts. If anything, Kickstarter is proof that there is a sea change stirring, where more people want to become active participants in the process of bringing art and culture to life. I saw this issue come up all the time at SFMOMA – arts-interested individuals no longer accept being told who and what to care about; rather, they want to be engaged in the process, championing the artists and ideas that bring richness to their world. Given this shift, there is a lot of opportunity to make more room for creative industries in our society by connecting artists more closely with the communities who support them.
Now, as I’m well aware, there has been much discussion about how the term “to curate” has been watered down by the proliferation of “fancy choosing” brought on by social media and the Internet (I even presented about this at SXSW last spring). I get it, and I’m up for the challenge. By joining the Kickstarter team as a curator, I hope to act as a cultural advocate working to connect the dots and bolster discussions regarding how and why members of the Kickstarter community are contributing to and changing culture at large. We are at an interesting turning point, where digital technologies are dramatically altering the ways that art, film, music and design are funded, created, consumed and understood. While many institutions struggle to make sense of this shifting landscape, I am excited that Kickstarter is thinking ahead, working to harness the power of the Internet, community and (most importantly) creativity to bring about positive change and opportunity for artists.
Throughout this month and in January I’ll be finishing up working on Chatrooms as a member of Gray Area Art + Technology’s Cultural Incubator, and plan to drive across the country with Daniel before we set up shop on the East Coast in early February. While I’m quite sad to leave San Francisco and the ever-growing community of friends and colleagues I’ve come to know during my 5.5 years in the Bay Area, I couldn’t be more excited for what’s next.