Artist profile | Katy Mutton

Katy Mutton’s campaign In Plain Sight transformed a boat into ‘Dazzle’ – a camouflage-inspired work of art on Lake Burley Griffin. Her fundraising approach focused on social media and below, Katy outlines her strategy and top tips for campaign success.

At a glance
Project: In Plain Sight
$ raised: $8,933
Donors: 97

Why did you choose the ACF?

I wanted to work with a fundraising method that was purely philanthropic, one that didn’t rely on a rewards system. I also wanted it to be arts focused so when I came across the ACF, I thought it was the perfect fit for my project.

Could you summarise your experience fundraising through the ACF?

My whole experience was really positive. The campaign was easy to set up. Initially, I felt reasonably confident that I could get people interested because it was a public art project, and it was bright, and I thought they were both things that I could play on.

I started with friends – trying to get their interest. I thought it would be easier to begin with relationships that I had already established. I tried to get friends and family excited so they would become advocates for the project.

I also set up a Facebook page, specifically for the event, and I asked people to share it. I also have an artist page on Facebook and promoted it on that. I used Twitter and made sure to use appropriate hashtags.

I tried to think of hashtags like #visitcanberra so I could hopefully start reaching out into the public. The advantage to having a project like this is that because it is so bright and fun, if you have the images, people are automatically intrigued by them.

Tell us about your social media campaign. What you were posting about, and how frequently?

Initially, I only had concept art, a limited amount of images that were representational of the boat. That was a challenge because you need to keep people interested. A couple of things that I did to try and make it interesting was that because the project was based on dazzle camouflage, I tried to find a series of images that were to do with dazzle camouflage and history and post those images with a description that related to the project, saying ‘project inspired by dazzle camouflage’.

We had to take the boat out of the water earlier than anticipated and well in advance of getting any funding so I just hoped it would be successful! Although that was tricky, what it did mean was that I was able to put up images and get people excited about what was happening – so painting the boat, images of partners that we had, such as our signwriters.

Another thing to mention is the importance of acknowledging people that you are involved with. For me, the importance of acknowledging the guy that owns the boat, the signwriters that we are working with, ACF etc. was vital.

Sometimes I did little videos of activity at the boat. I also posted before shots of the boat so people could see what it looked like before. I started to create graphics to acknowledge the donations. I tried to generate excitement and encourage people to get involved.

I would have a graphic concept of the boat with lots of dazzle-y bits and say ‘25% funded – thank you’ and then I would acknowledge all of the donors that I had so it became a board of thank yous. I did find that when I did publicly acknowledge donors in this way, it gave us a spike in responses so I would suddenly get a few more donations as people wanted to be part of the process and so it felt like a real community type thing, people really wanted to get involved.

You received a substantial 97 donations, ranging from $5 to $1500. Tell us how you engaged a wider audience?

There were a few different ways. Twitter was really effective. What I tried to do, particularly in the local community, was reach out and link in to the Canberra arts tourism bodies. Not formally to get donations, but to get people excited about what was coming.

I was invited to be part of the festival, Contour 556, so there was a lot of support from within the festival.

People knew they would be able to go on the boat, and see the lake so I tried to promote it in terms of, ‘be a part of this’, ‘you can catch a ride on the dazzle boat’, and I tried to come up with things that would catch people’s imaginations. And also search under different hashtags, see who was posting what and then try and connect with those different audiences.

The festival only runs for one month but I thought it would be more effective, and if the owner was willing, to have the artwork up for 12 months, so there was more opportunity for interstate people to get more directly involved and come to Canberra, as well as the local audience.

What tip would you most like to share with other artists fundraising through the ACF?

  • Be really organised. Particularly with social media, you really need to pay attention to it. Make sure you respond to questions as people will ask you questions as you go and you need to keep an eye on that.