Who has the right to enter the artistic scene? Who decides the criteria’s on access to public funding? How would public art funding be designed if we invented the concept now? CrowdCulture is a new crowdfunding site for creative projects, that tries to answer these questions in a fairly unique way. The crowdfunding platform mixes private money with public money in a hybridized economy to fund art and cultural works. The platform was developed by an initiative of Fabel Communication in collaboration with SICS— the Swedish Institute of Computer Science.

Despite its ties to public money, the site works pretty much the same way as any other crowdfunding site. A supporter of a specific project can chose to donate money to projects through their system, but this donation can be co-funded by other actors such as regions or foundations, leveraging each vote.

The project has been tested since the spring of 2010, and so far three regions in Sweden are using the system: the region of Blekinge, Southern Småland, and The county council of Sörmland.

One of the conclusions they received from testing is that integrations across municipalities are important, and it offers an easy way to finance cross-border cultural work. They give the example of a short film with co-investment from Sweden, Denmark and Norway where there is no common platform. The solution is based on so-called APIs for the CrowdCulture system, which offers the opportunity for a project to be published in multiple locations and receive donations while the budget updates and news are managed via an interface.

For municipalities, running a call for creative works on Crowdculture is much cheaper compared to what is best practiced today using experts or reference groups. Call creators can save money in administration and let more cash work for the benefit of cultural creation. Plus, the power of the crowd also helps direct public money to projects citizens enjoy and feel attached to.

The system is now ready to be used all across Europe, and it should be an interesting project to watch.

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