On March 7, 2014 the Toronto Fringe launched Fund What You Can (FWYC), a crowdfunding platform for independent artists across Canada. FWYC is a fundraising resource for indie artists from any discipline who are looking to generate revenue for their artistic projects. Like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, FWYC allows artists to create and manage their own crowdfunding campaigns at www.fwyc.ca. But unlike other crowdfunding platforms, FWYC has been tailor-made for indie artists and will offer a more targeted reach to campaigners and zero platform fees for the first six months of operation (until August 31st, 2014).
FWYC is accessible to any indie artist or collective, in any artistic discipline – not just theatre. FWYC has been designed to suit the needs of aspiring indie filmmakers, choreographers, musicians and other artists as well as those in theatre. The Fringe has been expanding its reach to disciplines other than theatre in the past five years, reaching out to visual artists via the Visual Fringe art market, dance companies via the lottery dance categories, and showcasing indie musicians and buskers at the Fringe Club every summer.
FWYC has also been designed to work in tandem with our three anchor programs at the Toronto Fringe (Fringe Festival, Next Stage, Creation Lab). Artists interacting with these programs will find that FWYC provides an ideal support system throughout their journey with the Fringe, whether they are raising funds for a free workshop in the Creation Lab, mounting their first Fringe show, or crafting a more professional production at Next Stage.
The FWYC initiative is funded by the Metcalf Foundation through the Creative Strategies Incubator Program, which is focused on developing alternative sources of revenue. Toronto Fringe Executive Director Kelly Straughan believes “crowdfunding platforms have quickly become an essential part of raising money for the indie arts community. FWYC is a natural extension of what we do at the Fringe and part of our overall mission to give back to artists. We are thrilled to partner with the Metcalf Foundation and Hivewire to bring this vital resource to Canadian artists.” The FWYC platform rivals any on the market today. It has been designed by BF Designs and is powered by HiveWire who are leading experts in the crowdfunding industry.
In 2011, Toronto Fringe transformed the indie theatre ecology in the city by launching the Creation Lab – a subsidised studio space that independent artists can rent for as low as $6/hr. The Creation Lab has seen incredible success in its first three years, offering over 12,500 subsidised hours. The launch of the Creation Lab in 2011 ushered the Toronto Fringe into a new era in its history, shifting the Fringe into a year-round organization. With Fund What You Can, the Fringe is expanding its year-round operations, and renewing its position as a leading advocate of indie artists in the city.
For more information, or to sign up for a campaign, visit www.fwyc.ca.