Here’s the story, in Crista’s own words, exclusive to Slipped Disc:
My name is Crista Kende and I am a violist using modern technology to do something that has never been done before. I am currently crowdfunding the purchase of a fine string instrument on Indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com/violaforcrista).
Many highly trained musicians struggle to own an instrument commensurate with their skills, and the quality of an instrument can either propel an artist forward or hold them back. Some musicians are lucky enough to have foundations or private benefactors supply rare and expensive instruments. Those less fortunate are forced to take out risky loans or pour their entire savings into one costly purchase – all to secure the use of an instrument that may increase their chance of landing a prestigious job.
For more than a decade, I was one of the lucky ones. A small foundation generously provided me with a fine 19th century French viola to use during my most formative years as a young musician. However, all loans eventually come to an end and just as I received my Masters from Juilliard, I was literally left empty handed and without the instrument necessary to turn my degree into a career. I began to search for the perfect instrument, hoping to find a historic and mature viola within my price rage. I quickly learned that such a magical combination of quality and affordability is virtually nonexistent in the old instrument market. I changed course and upon the recommendation of many colleagues, began to consider contemporary violas. I eventually ended up in the shop of Guy Rabut, one of today’s top craftsmen, and decided that his violas had the sound and quality I needed to progress professionally. Even though modern violas are much more affordable than older instruments, cost remained an issue for me. Determined to find a practical way to purchase one of Guy’s violas, I was drawn to Indiegogo and the concept of crowdfunding.
Fast becoming an effective fundraising tool in the arts world, crowdfunding helps artists connect with communities of people who share their passion. I prepared a campaign on Indiegogo, and tapped into my musical skills to offer a series of “perks” (recordings, lessons and concerts) in exchange for contributions. Centuries ago, artists relied on the support of donors like the Medicis and large institutions. Today, technology allows me to create modern-day patrons, whose combined small contributions can make large projects happen. During these difficult economic times, government support of the arts has further dwindled and private individuals are the main source of funding for creative activities. Crowdfunding makes it easy for almost anyone to become a patron of the arts – for the price of a single NYC cocktail an individual can be part of a large creative project and make a difference for an artist!
I see my campaign as an opportunity to lead by example and revolutionize the way classical musicians go about purchasing fine instruments.