Time Running Out on Campaign to Help Local Artists

 Eclectic Hearts Founder Megan Cowie auctioned off prints of previous works by Eclectic Hearts artists at Friday's pledge party at Lil' Beaver Brewery in Bloomington.

Eclectic Hearts Founder Megan Cowie auctioned off prints of previous works by Eclectic Hearts artists at Friday's pledge party at Lil' Beaver Brewery in Bloomington.

Time is running out to help a local entrepreneur with an idea for a new way to support independent artists.

Eclectic Hearts is a monthly art subscription service that aims to give budding artists fair pay and credit for their work.

Founder Megan Cowie says she wants to help fund artists who love what they do but don’t necessarily have the means to make a living from their work. Her Kickstarter campaign has just three days left to reach the $2,000 goal to launch the service.

Subscribers will receive 8x10 prints of original works every month from photographers, printmakers, painters, graphic designers and more, along with information about the artists and their creations. Cowie plans to open the service to subscribers late next month.

Cowie’s campaign got a boost at a pledge party Friday evening at Lil’ Beaver Brewery in Bloomington. Brewery owner and founder Chad Bevers has been somewhat of a mentor to Cowie, who sought guidance from like-minded area startups.

Bevers opened the brewery and taproom in January following his own successful Kickstarter campaign. The two decided to collaborate on an event to help Cowie connect with would-be project backers. Her campaign raised $500 in just three hours Friday, with less than $700 to go as of Monday morning.

Cowie says art can be a tough passion to pursue. An artist herself, Cowie studied art for two years at Illinois Wesleyan University before switching gears and earning an interior design degree at Illinois State University in 2012.

 Eclectic Hearts founder Megan Cowie talks with patrons at a pledge party Friday evening at Lil' Beaver Brewery in Bloomington.

Eclectic Hearts founder Megan Cowie talks with patrons at a pledge party Friday evening at Lil' Beaver Brewery in Bloomington.

Cowie says subscribers can expect to find joyful, inspiring art with each new arrival. As the curator for Eclectic Hearts, she understands not everyone will want to have monthly pieces of artwork chosen for them. However, she hopes people will embrace the idea of being exposed to new art forms--ones they may realize they love or can share with a loved one. 

“I really, truly am passionate about the fact that society is getting better at embracing differences, uniqueness and diversity,” she said. “In an artistic way I hope that’s what we’re able to do.”

Eclectic Hearts won't just benefit the art industry. Cowie also plans to give back to the community by choosing a different local nonprofit or charitable cause each month to donate a portion of her profits.

Cowie is still looking for artists to sign up to create original works for the service. While Eclectic Hearts was in part inspired by the national Shop Local movement, Cowie said artists don’t have to be local to participate.

For more information or to make a donation, visit the Eclectic Hearts Kickstarter campaign, which has an introductory video and information about the artists. Eclectic Hearts is also on Facebook @EclecticHearts and Instagram @eclectic_hearts_art.