Jim Weidert of Menasha is crowdfunding a new business, IntoWishin’ Arts, which strives to solve underemployment and lack of arts opportunities for people with special needs.
The Indiegogo campaign has a funding goal of $36,000 by December 30, going to support artist workshops for people with disabilities, art supplies, paying staff, an online store, legal and accounting fees and marketing. So far, the project has raised nearly $12,000.
Weidert says the business is about providing opportunities for people with disabilities who are interested in the arts.
“There just is not a lot of activity for creative individuals with disabilities,” Weidert says. “The ones that have athletic abilities or the ones that are appreciative of summer camps, they have lots of lots of opportunities because of Miracle League or Special Olympics. I want to create opportunities for them to create art.”
Another issue Weidert says he wants to address is a general lack of full-time employment in the area for those with special needs. According to research on the campaign page, the national full-time employment rate is a low 33 percent among the disabled.
“There’s this idea that people with disabilities are working, but they’re not working full-time, so could they supplement their earnings through creative royalties through IntoWishin’ Arts?” Weidert says. “[Another goal] is to raise awareness in the business community that there are creative ways of thinking that will address this issue of underemployment within the population.”
Weidert says his business model takes a simple, circular approach.
“Once we start creating revenue, some of the revenue will come back to the company to be able to fund even more workshops,” Weidert says. “Some of the money will go to individuals, some of the money will go to the company, and some of the money will go to even nonprofits.”
Weidert estimates the project will reach $29,000 of its $36,000 goal by December 30, but he says there are other ways of reaching that amount, such as reaching out to businesses and nonprofits to donate or looking to private investors, but he says he’d prefer to simply reach his goal directly through crowdfunding.
“I look at it as a success already. Even without reaching my goal, I will be able to launch a full schedule of workshops once the project goes underway,” Weidert says.
Those interested in donating to the project can visit indiegogo.com. Donors can contribute as little as $1 to the project, and reward tiers range from $25 to $10,000, including custom-designed T-shirts and hats with artist designs, signed canvas reprints and charitable gift packs.