William King Museum launches Kickstarter campaign

Jessica Fischer • Mar 3, 2013 at 6:09 AM

Don’t judge a book by its cover, the old saying goes, but the staff at William King Museum in Abingdon, Va., would like the view outside their 1913 Colonial-style brick building to be a bit more reflective of the often cutting-edge contemporary regional art visitors will find inside.

That’s why they’ve launched the Patch Whisky Project, a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to bring graffiti artist Patch Whisky of Charleston, S.C., to town to transform a stark, white outbuilding behind the museum into a work of modern art.

“We have a lot of really cool funky things inside the museum,” said Sara Cardinale, director of community relations at the William King Museum. “We’re housed in this 1913 really Colonial-looking building, so sometimes it’s sort of a surprise to people when they come in here and see contemporary art. They expect to see the fine art that we have, but right now, we also have an exhibit called ‘Fantastic Mechanics,’ which is an interactive, sculpture-based exhibit. It’s really funky stuff and we do that a lot, so we really want part of our outside to match what’s on the inside.”

If the museum raises $3,900 by March 18, Whisky will spend the week of March 25 jazzing up the front of the “white building,” as the staff lovingly refers to it, with the graffiti-style monsters he calls winkles.

“Even though it’s in the back, it’s something people see, it’s pretty prominent,” Cardinale said. “We’ll get that cleaned and primed and ready. We think of it as a blank canvas.

“If we’re funded through Kickstarter, he will paint the front. The way Kickstarter works, it’s all or nothing, so if we miss our goal we don’t get any money, but if we go over our goal, we’ll get whatever people have pledged, even if it’s over the amount that we’ve asked for, and he may be able to paint another wall.”

Originally from Bluefield, W.Va., Whisky has exhibited in galleries across the country, including solo shows in Cleveland, Savannah, Asheville, Miami and Charlotte. He has also painted murals for Warner Brothers and worked on projects for Mellow Mushroom and Triangle Restaurants.

Whisky earned a degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he discovered his love for street art. His style has been described as “graffiti meets the Cartoon Network” and “the stuff Scrubbing Bubbles kills.”

Whisky’s plan is to cover the front of the “white building” with his signature monsters.

Cardinale said the public will be welcome to drop by and watch the artist at work, and those who pledge $50 or more to the Kickstarter campaign will receive an invitation to a private Whisky Social with the artist on March 28 at the museum.

“It’ll be a private party at the museum, and we’ll have music and a whiskey toast with Patch Whisky,” Cardinale said.

Pledge options range from $1 to $500 or more, with rewards at each level. As of Feb. 28, 19 backers had pledged $1,516 toward William King’s $3,900 goal.

This is the museum’s first attempt at a Kickstarter campaign.

“Usually we plan so far in advance, we’ve got our calendars, exhibitions through 2015, but this project is really unique in that it’s just something that came up as a possibility, and we’re scrambling to figure out how to do it since it’s not in the budget,” Cardinale said. “We’ve seen friends of the museum and musicians that we know do the same thing, so we thought, you know, hey, they have an art section on Kickstarter and this is a very specific project — it can’t just be for general funding, it has to be for a spcific project — and we thought it would be one that people could relate to.

“We are definitely interested in engaging the community, not just being sort of a passive, come look at the art, and this is definitely toward that mission of what we want people to think of when they think of the museum.”

To make a pledge to the Patch Whiskey Project, visit www.kickstarter.com and search for the Patch Whisky Project.

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