LeSo Gallery Kickstarter campaign raises funds for classroom supplies, muralWritten by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A Toledo art gallery is reaching out to the public in an effort to enrich the community with the arts.
LeSo Gallery, 1527 Starr Ave., recently began a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for classroom supplies, as well as a full-wall outdoor mural painted by artist Mr. Taylor on one side of its building.
Kickstarter is a website used to raise funds for various projects. A person or group may make a pitch for a project using videos, written descriptions or pictures. He or she then sets an amount of money needed to fund the project and a time limit to raise the money.
The public may then make donations through the website, and some creators offer rewards for different levels of donations. If the set amount of money is not raised within the time limit, the project goes unfunded — it’s all or nothing.
The LeSo Kickstarter project runs through 11:59 p.m. July 13. At press time, LeSo had surpassed its goal of $3,500 by $144, but is still taking donations.
The heads of the LeSo campaign are Adam Soboleski, gallery co-owner and production manager, Amber LeFever, co-owner and gallery director, and Bradley Scherzer, business partner and marketing and design head. The trio is raising funds for classroom supplies and a new projector for their workshops, which are presented to area residents and children.
According to Scherzer, the idea for the Kickstarter project first came about when the three had been discussing the need for art education in the community. The issue is one of great interest for them, as LeFever and Scherzer are both art teachers.
“We think a lot about the Toledo-area students, and what’s happening with arts classes and the cuts, and we, as teachers, really value what we do,” Scherzer said. “We want to supplement anything that gets lost.”
LeFever said that since the gallery opened last year, it has received a lot of positive feedback and support from the community.
“When we were trying to think of a way to come up with funds, the Kickstarter program seemed like the perfect option because we’ve already gotten such a positive response and such great support, we thought that we would try to reach out to the people we’re trying to help, and try to help them in return,” she said.
Soboleski and LeFever said extra money from the campaign would go toward other improvements at the gallery such as a large kiln.
LeSo will offer rewards for different levels of donations, such as a handmade ceramic mug made by Soboleski for a $100 donation, or having one’s name incorporated into Mr. Taylor’s mural for a $500 donation.
For more info, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/lesogallery/state-of-the-arts-east-toledo.
About the wall artist
A conceptual sketch of the proposed mural can be viewed on the LeSo Kickstarter page. The artist, Mr. Taylor, knows a thing or two about painting large-scale pieces — he also painted the “Toledo Loves Love” mural on Adams Street near 13th Street. It was that piece that led to the inspiration for LeSo’s project.
“The response that the entire Toledo community gave was phenomenal,” LeFever said. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to provide the East Side community, specifically, with something to be proud of.”
“We’d been talking with [Mr. Taylor] for a while about his artwork,” Scherzer added. “Once we actually had him for a show here, we started thinking about what could happen with the walls outside. We decided to choose an accessible wall, so the public could enjoy it more as well.”
Matt Taylor is the man behind “Mr. Taylor.” He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where he earned a degree in visual communication technology.
“I’m a graphic designer by day, but I always come back to illustration, painting, photography and printing on my own time. I use artwork as my chance to unwind and let my head unravel and in that way it’s a very therapeutic process, which I honestly feel I can’t live without,” Taylor said.