“How do you pay for this?”

That’s a good question, and one that we’re asked a lot. That’s like the sixth bonus question of the Typical Shantyboat Q&A.

The project was supported by a few modest grants from the University of California and from a Kickstarter campaign we did before the trip.

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The broken drive shaft out of Freddie

It is surprisingly inexpensive to float down a river. Gas, food, occasional mooring fees, occasional repairs. No one is charging us rent to live on the river, one of the things that has historically drawn poorer people in river communities to live on the river. That said, it would be cheaper if I was something like a river hobo with no home to maintain back in California.

In general, the project has about a $20k budget. On the surface, it seems like kind of a lot for art. But then when you consider that this is a year-round project involving three months of fieldwork, that budget starts to seem paltry.

With our grants and fundraisers, we raised just over $10k, about half of our budget. We could still move forward if we dropped off the budget money to pay the artists (boo!) and for contingencies. Unfortunately, we had a whole series of trailer problems coming out to the Midwest and now we are working on fixing the Shantyboat motor.


The shantyboat trailer ate, destroyed or lost a total of four tires and one axel.

So here’s the deal: If you have a little bit to spare, and think the Secret History project is worth supporting, I’d encourage you to contribute what you can afford. I don’t want to say this is an emergency, because I feel like that is just another word for bad planning. But I will say this is important to the project. Call it a second wave of findraising, to make up for our fundraising shortfall.

We are trying to raise $3500 in the next week.

Or just click here: http://www.gofundme.com/secrethistory2015

As always, we are grateful for your support.

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