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Kickstarter Campaign for Participatory Public Art Project


Update: Our Kickstarter campaign was a success! Find out more about our project at

This August during First Friday activities the exterior of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) Downtown Branch will be full of volunteers installing exuberant large-scale black and white portraits of library patrons on the library exterior.

Inspired by a Bella Bathurst quote "Turns out that libraries have nothing at all to do with silence" this participatory public art project – initiated and fully supported by the SCPL – celebrates the Downtown Branch as a vibrant, active part of the community, made relevant by the relationships it fosters.

While distinctly unique to Santa Cruz, the project also links to a global public art project initiated in 2010 by TED Prize winner and street artist JR. The global Inside Out Project transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Everyone is challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world.

Local public arts activist, Mariah Roberts, is organizing the installation with Janis O’Driscoll, Manager of Programs and Partnerships for the Library. This is not Mariah’s first experience producing Inside Out projects. Last summer Roberts partnered with local photographer Joop Rubens and student photographers to produce an Inside Out project for the Live Oak community, with donated walls from the Live Oak Super and 17th Avenue Studios.

For the library project exhibitions designer Gabriel Harrison and City Arts staff Crystal Birns partnered with the project team and encouraged Roberts to consider printing portraits at a large scale to integrate with the library architecture. Roberts pulled in a few other team members – including local filmmaker Nick Paris, UCSC photography students, Live Oak students and photographer Joop Rubens – and launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover the cost of printing large-scale.

The Museum of Art and History also extended a hand and plans to host a voting booth and interactive component to the project if sufficient funds are raised.

A funding platform for creative projects, Kickstarter has been used successfully by a number of local artists, makers, inventors and other creative types. Every Kickstarter project is independently crafted, put to all-or-nothing funding, and supported by friends, fans, and the public. Supporters can pledge as little as $1 or as much as they’d like. The fundraising goal for this project is $5000, and with 16 more days to go, $3980 has already been raised.

Inside Out Libraries portraits by Joop Rubens are online at Read more about the project in this week's Good Times article Inside Out and Larger Than Life.

View similarly tagged posts: Branches, Fundraiser
Posted by teeterj on June 20, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.



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