Fine Arts Library uses University crowdfunding site to fund recording studio

Selah Maya Zighelboim

Beginning in January, students from all departments will be able to record music, podcasts or other audio recordings using a new recording studio in the Fine Arts Library.

The Fine Arts Library will add a recording studio as part of a plan called “The Foundry,” which aims to renovate the Fine Arts Library with more technology. To fund this, the library raised more than $15,000 through HornRaiser, a University crowdfunding platform.

“Having a place to have access to more equipment, like 2 mics, different kind of mics, instruments, workstations, really awesome sound monitors, would make the biggest difference in the world,” music production sophomore Alex Smith said on the HornRaiser campaign page. “Having a professional area adds a level beyond hanging up egg cartons and stuffed animals to help reduce room noise. The possibilities are endless.”

When the library began the campaign in March, it had intended to raise $10,000 to build the recording studio. A month into the campaign, the crowdfunding campaign surpassed the $10,000 goal before the deadline, and the library decided to increase its goal to $15,000.

Marsha Reardon, University Development Office program coordinator, said the success of the Fine Arts Library’s campaign came from how proactive the library was in raising funds for the recording studio.

“This library project in particular, they were very proactive in their fundraising, so they asked a bunch of people — they had faculty, staff, students giving gifts,” Reardon said. “There were a lot of hands in that project and a lot of people that really cared about the project, and that’s why it was such a huge success.”

According to Reardon, in order for someone to start a crowdfunding campaign on HornRaiser, they must be affiliated with the University. HornRaiser also cannot be used to fund endowments, scholarships or salaries.

Reardon said the person or organization behind the crowdfunding campaign must then fill out an application, which the University Development Office will evaluate. According to Reardon, because of the layout of the HornRaiser site and bandwidth issues, the ideal number of crowdfunding campaigns HornRaiser will host at a time is 12.

Natalie Moore, University of Texas Libraries chief development officer, said the library has plans to eventually add several more studios to the Fine Arts Library, such as a games and playable apps studio, an animatronics and robotic workshop, and a video production and editing studio.

The Fine Arts Library is not planning on using HornRaiser to fund these other studios at the moment, Moore said.

“HornRaiser really served its purpose, and now, we’re hoping to promote the funding of these studios and look for support through individuals and corporations,” Moore said. “I don’t think [using HornRaiser] is completely off the table, but I think we want to make sure we have a diverse approach to ensure we’re successful going forward.”

According to Moore, the extra $5,000 will be used to give the recording studio better soundproofing. Right now, the Fine Arts Library is in the process of working on the design of the recording studio, said David Hunter, Fine Arts Library music librarian.

“We’re right in the middle of upgrading the design because we ended up with more money than we thought we would,” Hunter said. “It’s actually going to be even better than what we thought.”