Larks and recreation - inside the VanGoYourself epicentre
We’ve been busier than a traffic warden on double commission over the past 29 days of fundraising – except it’s been a lot more fun than handing out tickets, and all the money we’re raising should create widespread inspiration rather than resentment.
We’ve received 1,676 Euros at the time of typing, which is not bad for a first-time project. It’s left us all with a sunny glow, although we’ve still got work to do to reach our target.
So what do your hard-earned €€€s do? We mainly need funds for resources. As a tiny team, persuading collections to provide their paintings on open or shared licenses, and then making sure they’re presented in a way which allows as many people as possible to see and interpret them, takes up plenty of time, research, furrowed brows and grey matter.
Our ambition is to get 100 more paintings on the site from collections of all shapes and sizes across Europe. It helps that our teammates are Europeana, the online collection of millions of digitised items which kicked us off in the best possible style, with 50 paintings from 12 collections.
Museums and galleries are rightly concerned that their works are being used in the right way, and as a project at a relatively early stage (this is our first full summer) it’s our job to leave them feeling as assured as a Picasso brushstroke that their treasured canvasses are in the right hands.
Unlike James Bond, there’s more than one license to choose from, and it often depends on the painting’s history and who actually owns it. Once the negotiations are over with and we’ve got that beautiful picture of Venus, a gaggle of bygone Danish artists or portrait of Mr Van Gogh himself on board, we get the best image possible, add as much historical information as we can to each painting and create hints and tips so that our visitors can get a better understanding of the works and really enjoy playing around with them, even if they haven’t got a ginger beard to hand.
We regularly tinker with the site, which we’re always trying to make as easy to use as possible. We also send out newsletters (sign up if you’re into all-killer, no-filler mailings) telling everyone what we’re up to and giving you all a chance to win things and generally laugh at recreations such as our resident fruit man. We are constantly trying to spread the word about what we’re doing and can do (we’ve run workshops for kids in museums, opened booths at Museums at Night and all sorts of other things.)
I’ll try to say much more about all this in updates to follow, but in the meantime: get involved! You don’t have to give us your wonga in this age of austerity – to paraphrase Vanilla Ice, you can Collaborate by clicking on the magic buttons to the right of the fundraiser, which will allow you to advocate for us, tell your mates and family, add a painting or post funny pictures from the site anywhere you like.
Equally, €5 would make our Thursday (or any other day), €29 will allow you to replace that dusty old mug with one of the VGY ones our expert designers have drawn up, and there are a whole load of other rewards to choose from (more on that to come once I've improved my sales techniques, but we've got better offers than a dodgy motor.) All financial pledges are generously doubled by (deep breath) the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía - we're the only people offering 200% interest, so it's a cracking investment on the imaginary cultural stock exchange.
You can also enter our Instagram competition to win this book by uploading your recreations to everyone’s favourite filtering site with the hashtag #VanGoYourself, visit vangoyourself.com and pick a painting or email your recreations to email@example.com (I’ll upload them for you if you like.)
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