What is Kickstarter, and how can it help raise $ for Okey’s Promise?

Okey’s Promise video

What the heck is Kickstarter?

It is a start-up company designed to match creative people such as myself with individuals interested in kicking in a few dollarsĀ  towards worthy creative projects.

I first heard about Kickstarter from a story about it on NPR. I then started seeing other articles about it like this one in the New York Times. Then people started sending me tweets and Facebook messages that I should give it a try.

I am not exactly what would be called an early adopter for new tech and business start-ups, although I do tend to get on the boat for worthy trends before the average person. Kickstarter is pretty new, however, it has received great reviews from very credible sources.

Kickstarter seems designed just for folks like me – creative people with big ideas that can make a big difference to the world.

When the idea for Okey’s Promise came to me, and I had no ready backers for the project. I had recently had a surprisingly successful fund raising campaign for the veterinary care for Okey, the cat who inspired the project. This helped me realize that I had people in my network interested in supporting good things.

Since Kickstarter is a program to raise funds for worthy projects from people interested in doing good things, I decided that using this new resource was just the ticket.

Basically how it works is you develop a campaign with a set goal for fund raising. Mine will be $5,000. You have different levels of patronage that people can get a special item in exchange (ex. prints of the mural image). People make a pledge through Amazon that is not collected unless the entire amount is funded.

So, if I get $5001 in pledges, the project is funded, and Amazon collects the money from the pledgers. If I get $4999 in pledges, nothing is collected.

You can collect amounts over your goal, but not under. So if I get $6,000 pledged, I can collect it. If I get $4,999, I cannot. For this reason, I have set my goal at a bare minimum.

Ideally, my project would raise $7,000, as that is what I would typically charge for a project of this sort. I have lowered the goal, to make it easier to get funded, but also in anticipation that people will pledge over the $5,000.

How can this help Okey’s Promise, and why is it worthwhile to donate to the project?

Simply put, Kickstarter can make Okey’s Promise HAPPEN.

Without it, I would have to spend a lot of frustrating hours appealing to nonprofit organizations to write a grant for me, taking away from the creative process. I would have to spend my energies doing things that take away from the creative aspects of the project, instead of getting in there and painting the mural that is the project.

I believe that this project is worthy not just for it’s creative elements, but because of it opportunity to educate the community about critical issues.

Domestic violence and child abuse are serious issues in my own community in Canton, OH, as they are in any community. Animal abuse, as well, is a serious issue.

Most people, however, do not recognize the connection between the two, so there is no collective force to address them together. And that leads to less effective programming on both fronts.

My hope is that Okey’s Promise will not only start a conversation in my own community about the issues, but also become a national and international beacon for the cause.

Will you help? I will soon be launching my fund raising project on Kickstarter. Please feel free to peruse the site so that you can gain an understanding of how it has helped other creative projects.

And be watching for updates on when the Okey’s Promise Kickstarter campaign will begin.

Okey and I thank you for any moral or financial support that you can offer us. Every little bit helps.

Thank you for your interest in fulfilling Okey’s promise.


Okey’s Promise: Intro Video & fund raising plans

Welcome to Okey’s Promise.

This is a site to share information about a public art project designed to create awareness about the connections between animal maltreatment, child abuse and domestic violence. Statistics back up my own anecdotal experience as a therapist for trauma survivors.

There is a strong link. When animals are in danger, chances are, children are too.

The purpose of Okey’s Promise, named for a small rescued cat, is to create artworks that will be prominently viewed in the community to generate interest and awareness. They will be positive in nature. The purpose is to remind us of the riches we have in helping those who are most vulnerable in society.

The video below explains the genesis of the project.

I am developing a fund raising campaign to obtain the resources so that I can create the art. I am in the process of developing a campaign at Kickstarter.com, and will post when that goes live. I am also seeking out other opportunities. If you have suggestions, or would like to sponsor the project in some way, please contact me.

I look forward to your camaraderie and support through this journey.

Life is an Adventure!


Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause

Okey is OK
"Okey is OK!" painting by BZTAT

I used to say that doing counseling (my other career) was like painting a painting. Instead of using lines and color and various media, I was managing human variables, bringing them together to find harmony out of chaos.

In both – creating a painting and using communication skills to bring about emotional healing – you have to surrender a certain amount of control to dimensions out of your reach. But with both, you rely on your skills, talents, and spiritual connections with others to bring about something of value.

As I am moving towards my artwork becoming my main career focus, I am astounded at how the counselor in me comes through in the art, much as the artist in me did when counseling was my main focus.

Although I specialize in painting animals, a subject that would seem to be somewhat separate from more social conscience types of art, I am amazed at how healing pet-themed artworks can be to people who rely on their pets for balance and connection in their worlds.

I also find that I have become more deeply connected with people who are doing great work with pet rescue and animal charities to deal with the inhumanity perpetrated on innocent creatures in our society.

Recently, a lost and forlorn cat crossed my path. Residing in a parking lot and in danger of being killed by heavy traffic in the area, she was like a sitting duck. Reluctantly, I rescued her – the reluctance being because of my own circumstances being not the best for adopting a new cat.

I was deeply humbled by how many people not only followed her story here, but also donated to her veterinary care. Within DAYS, $305 was raised for my little Okey.


It is clear to me that Okey was socialized to some degree with people, then abandoned. The way that she cowers with me leads me to believe that the humans she has encountered before me were frightening to her. She is coming around, but it is a slow process.

It is one thing to care about animals and to have compassion for creatures who are lost in our human world. Yet there are those who would suggest that we should worry more about other social ills first. An editorial in my local paper went so far as to decry volunteers who give of themselves, implying that childhood poverty was a more important concern to address.

But here is the reality. When animals are suffering in society, children are too. When there is violence to animals, there is likely violence to children and others who may be defenseless. Where there is poverty, there is an abundance of unwanted pets due to animals not being spayed and neutered.

Truth be told, child welfare programs grew out of the efforts of animal rescue organizations who were seeing children in deplorable conditions when they were rescuing endangered pets.

The issue of pet abuse and abandonment is deeply connected to the issue of child abuse and domestic violence. Both issues need to be addressed together, not one in isolation of each other. I have a whole contingent of women and children advocates who will back me up on this.

My community of Stark County, OH has had a long history of poor management and horrible conditions at the county dog pound. Recently, mismanagement led to a family pet being wrongfully euthanized, and our commissioners are, once again failing to see how this issue connects with the other ills of our society.

I want to make it VERY difficult to do that from here on out.

I want to make my local community, as well as the broader global community with whom I connect, to realize that we must treat our animals well, in addition to addressing the needs of children and others in need in the community.

How? I am planning a series of large public artworks to place prominently in my community to highlight the value that animals bring to our world. Along with the artwork, I want to create a public awareness campaign to highlight the connections between animal maltreatment and child abuse and domestic violence.

These will not be negatively focused artworks to make us feel guilty, rather, they will be artworks designed to make us feel good about doing what is right.

I do not yet have the funding for the project, and it will likely come in stages. I plan to utilize Kickstarter.com, potential grants, and other resources to raise the funds. I am submitting the idea to Launchpad, in hopes that I might become one of their “Five people, five ideas, transforming five communities”.

I hope that I can rely on my fans and friends to get the word out and help in anyway that they can. You guys are THE BEST.

In the interest of full disclosure, please know that I have to make a living, so the fund raising will provide me support to live as I engage in the project. Consider it an Encore Career, combining “purpose, passion and a paycheck”. I would not be able to do it otherwise. But trust me, I will not be getting rich off of the project.

Art with a purpose and art with passion is essential to me. Bringing about change through creative motivation is the most valuable change there is. I want to be a part of the solution to community concerns locally, and worldwide.

In honor of my little rescue cat, saved from the dangers of the streets in Canton, which I intend to make safer for all, I am calling the project “Okey’s Promise”. The art will make a promise to do better for our community’s children and creatures.

As I try to show this little cat that some humans are OK, and the world doesn’t have to be so scary, I am haunted by the fact that there could be a child out there missing her.

And that child doesn’t have me or anyone else to show him or her that the world is OK.

Will you help me change that?

Public art to make our world a better place for all creatures great and small.