The attempt by New York City Opera to raise $1 million on the popular crowdfunding site has aroused much disquiet, both among arts specialists and in new media circles. Kickstarter exists to raise cash for new ideas. It is a online lifeline for those who cannot raise cash elsewhere.
There’s nothing new or innovative about ever-struggling City Opera. City Opera exists – perhaps not for much longer – to entertain and elevate the people of New York. It is threatening to shut up shop next season – or possibly sooner, after staging Mark Anthony Turange’s Anna Nicole (pictured) – if it cannot raise a million bucks.
Wrong, all wrong.
Putting a standard arts funding campaign on Kickstarter, especially an emergency fundraiser like this, makes City Opera look like a horse that has lost its paddock. A long-established, supposedly popular opera house does not belong with the online newbies. City Opera offers nothing new, nothing more than more of the same. And it does so when all else has failed. The dysfunction of ways and means could hardly be more apparent. This is Kickstarter for losers.
So far, the City Opera bid has raised $12,262. Face may yet be saved, but Kickstarter looks a lot less user-friendly for letting itself be used in this way.