Success for the Restoration of Pazzi Chapel Loggia at Church of Santa Croce international crowdfunding campaign. Ended on December 20th with 102,426 dollars and 859 backers, the first ever Kickstarter campaign for a restoration by a major cultural institution in Florence reached 107% of its funding goal. Opera di Santa Croce extends its gratitude to everyone who has supported the campaign.

Launched on November 17 and concluded on December 20 at 4am CET, the campaign ran for 33 days. The world responded immediately to the call by sharing, supporting and pledging to the crowdfunding project. Pledges ranged from one dollar to 10,000 dollars by people in 30 countries around the world. The campaign raised an average of about $3,000 per day, and the average pledge was $119. Two-thirds of pledges came from beyond Italy, primarily from the USA, but with a few backers in Indonesia, Peru, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, among others.

This is the first ever use of Kickstarter by a major cultural institution in Florence, Italy and its success demonstrates that crowdfunding is an effective means of communication and community-building as well as a democratic and ethical fundraising method for the arts.

Giuseppe De Micheli, director of Opera di Santa Croce, commented upon the campaign’s conclusion: “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from Santa Croce’s many friends around the world. The result is not only about the amount reached but about the number of people who were moved to pledge funds, such is the love towards Santa Croce and Florence. The campaign marks a new beginning for the city of Florence, and we hope that our experience in this innovative field may be of help to other institutions that face similar issues in the preservation of cultural legacy.”

The campaign

The month-long campaign has been filled with celebrities, music, photographers and tours. Campaign videos were filmed with BBC presenter Francesco Da Mosto and actor/director/art historian Dr. Peter Weller. A flash opera took place in the Pazzi Chapel and 120 Instagramers had the opportunity to photograph little-seen corners of the Chapel and the Santa Croce complex.

Opera di Santa Croce had previously raised 50% of the funds required to carry out this restoration. The institution called for public support in order to raise the remainder. In so doing, donors have become part of the 720-year-long history of Santa Croce, as their names will be inscribed in the institution’s historical archive.

The restoration

The restoration, which will begin in early 2015 and will address the entire structure, will begin with the overhang above the loggia to ensure the consolidation and shape of the structure and its wooden elements. Then the focus will shift to the façade and under the arches of the loggia. The level and nature of the intervention will vary according to the material, between pietra serena, terracotta and maiolica. In addition to cleaning and replacing fallen elements to their original location, the monument will receive a final protective coat to prevent further degradation.

Opera di Santa Croce extended its gratitude to all backers of the campaign, members of the press and the blogging community, as well as to the project partners, The Florentine and Ares Games. "We are honored to be a part of this adventure and glad to think that a few months from now, we will be walking under the restored porch of Cappella Pazzi", said Roberto Di Meglio, director of R&D of Ares Games and crowdfunding consultant for this project.

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