Now that my Kickstarter campaign has ended with 131% or $2,623 raised (YEA!), and I've had some time to reflect, I wanted to write an extended thank-you to everyone who contributed by making a pledge, or spreading the word, or wishing me "good luck"! You have filled this trip with purpose and I am grateful for your support! This project has taught me so much already, and this month-long roller-coaster with Kickstarter has shown me some unexpected things.
Before starting the project, I was nervous and uncomfortable asking people for money, and could have come up with a handful of people in my head who I would expect might contribute. I also happened to watch this TED talk by Amanda Palmer on "the art of asking" around the same time I was starting to work on my video, and it really stuck with me. That video, along with some conversations with friends, helped shift my perspective from viewing the act of asking for help as an imbalanced act of charity or debt, to an equal exchange where an opportunity is offered to be a part of something.
This encouraged me to launch my project and taught me to accept and receive the help that's been given, in the way we are to accept and receive help from God: humbly, openly, gratefully. To reach out for the hands that are extended to us, and to extend our hands to others. I got to see contributions large & small come in from far & wide. And I've been inspired by how many people, from close family to acquaintances to strangers, have stepped up to become a part of this. Please know that you are as much a part of this project now as I am!
Kickstarter really is an amazing platform, that created a collaboration between unlikely sources and people I would have never known to reach out to. But thanks to the bridge that Kickstarter's created, it extended my network beyond where I would have searched on my own. As soon as I asked for help outside of what I could provide for myself, the focus of the trip shifted away from being centered around me. With so many people involved, how can it be? So what do you do with that? It's an exciting place to be for sure.
I pray that this would give this trip a purpose beyond my original intentions. To view this all as a relational opportunity. Opportunities to connect with a community in Buenos Aires, and to connect deeply & spiritually with artists I don't know yet. To share our true selves with each other, and to make art that's reflective of an honest struggle. To have our conversations be even more meaningful than the art we produce.
Opening this project up to you all has given me so much encouragement. Besides the tangible exchange of art & rewards I can give back to you, I hope this can be the start of a growing relationship. We are part of each other's journeys—you are certainly a part of mine, and I hope to continue sharing with you. It's important that we share our stories with each other. And it is a huge blessing to step into someone else's. And a reminder that we are all part of the same one!
"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way, because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity...that God makes Himself known to us most powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually."
–Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets (pg. 30)