TOLEDO, Ohio — Work is set to resume on the largest mural in the country after a Kickstarter goal was reached Tuesday, with the focus now shifting to making that mural the largest in the entire world.
The Glass City River Wall on the ADM silos just east of I-75 along the Maumee River is about 85% done, but because of supply chain issues, other unexpected costs and Mother Nature creating delays, the project was put on hold.
Unable to finish by the end of 2022 as anticipated, organizers took to Kickstarter with a fundraising goal of $50,000 by Dec. 31.
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising platform, meaning that if the project fell short of that $50,000 goal, no funds would be received.
On Tuesday, the project hit its goal with help from familiar - and unfamiliar - members of the community.
"This Kickstarter that we have presented to the community, one of the reasons that we did it is that it's the best way to get as many people to the table as we possibly can. We always talk about this as just a community endeavor, so it's not just large corporations, it's not people that are super recognizable," project manager Christina Kasper said during a live interview on WTOL 11, where she announced that the goal had been met just 20 minutes earlier.
"People sitting at a restaurant today gave a $5,000 donation from talking to people about it," Kasper said. "A donor, that we're still trying to figure out how we know him, but he's just part of the community, gave an exorbitant [amount] one of the biggest donations we've had on the Kickstarter today."
While finishing the final 15% of the mural as planned is the next step, there's more imagined for the future.
"Painting the backside of it, which not only would be a real testament to east Toledo, which is the neighborhood that it's in, but would also make it the largest mural in the world," she said.
Kasper adds that there are discussions to potentially have a community corporate donor match the $50,000 goal.
The campaign looked as if it might fall short with $20,000 still to go and only three days left.
"Part of the magic of this project is that every single time we've had a challenge - it's been answered somehow,” Kasper said. “We raised almost $17,000 today. That's insane. That's unheard of."
But it wasn't a complete shock to Kasper when the campaign crossed the finish line so suddenly.
"I'm not surprised by the way Toledo stepped up, so that's not surprising. But it's been really remarkable," she said. "The most surprising thing to me is the outreach that we got nationally. Toledo is on the map now in a way that is so positive and it just put a floodlight on what we can do as a community."
Kasper says they hope to have one month of painting left when they resume work on May 1.