At One with Crowdfunding, Smithsonian Seeks Backers for Yoga Exhibition

Detail from a work by Krishna Vishvarupa. ca. 1740. (Courtesy Freer|Sackler)

Open your wallet and say “Om.” That’s the mantra of the Smithsonian’s foray into crowdfunding. Today the institution launches its first major crowdfunding campaign to support “Yoga: The Art of Transformation,” an exhibition about yoga’s visual history that opens October 19 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. before traveling to traveling to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2014. The Smithsonian is looking to raise $125,000 by July 1 via Razoo, a crowdfunding-for-causes platform (think Kickstarter for nonprofits). Funds raised will cover exhibition production, web content, catalogue printing, and free public programs for adults and families.

“We’re trying a new (to us, at least!) and innovative fundraising approach worthy of a new and innovative exhibition,” wrote Miranda Gale, project manager of the campaign at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, in a recent blog post. “Since so many people practice and are enthusiastic about yoga, we’re choosing a format that allows everyone to get involved, not just those who have the means to make large donations.” Donors can contribute at a variety of levels, from “serenity” ($25 to help create tranquil galleries) to “flight” ($1,000 to transport yoginis across the world) and a sky’s-the-limit fill-in-the-blank amount that just might help you reach nirvana.