With more than a quarter of their goal pledged, supporters of a striking new look for the Tieton Post Office hope to hit half their $48,000 fundraising total this weekend.
Boosters want to replace the wood slat facade of the 1935 cement block building with a massive mosaic of 41,500 pieces of hand-cut glass tile that resembles a gigantic postage stamp. They’re hoping a monthlong Kickstarter campaign to create “the coolest post office in America” will make it happen.
Early Tuesday evening, donors had pledged $15,331, according to the crowdfunding site.
“A couple of people have told me they are going to be making some nice contributions in the next day or two,” said Ed Marquand, partner and founder of Mighty Tieton, an incubator for artisan and design-related light manufacturing businesses.
Tieton Arts & Humanities, the nonprofit arm of Mighty Tieton, enjoyed success with two smaller Kickstarter campaigns. The Tieton Stamp Mosaic Project fundraising campaign launched July 1. It continues through Aug. 3.
It’s part of the Tieton Mosaic Project, inspired by New York City’s historic subway signage. The stamp project is designed to honor small-town post offices everywhere.
Donations will fund building prep work, purchase of colored sheet glass from Bullseye Glass in Portland, plus other tools and materials, mosaic layout in the Mighty Tieton Warehouse, and hiring a professional installation crew.
The project has gotten lots of love on social media, including a tweet from Kickstarter, which has more than 1 million followers.
Marquand thinks visitors will travel to see the mosaic facade, designed by Ryan Polich, and the carefully planned fundraising strategy reflects that.
“I’m trying to raise 10 to 15 percent directly from the people who live in Tieton,” he said. “I want to get 35 to 40 percent from people who live in the Yakima Valley, because I do think it will be a tourist draw.
“Another angle is if we turn this into a monument to small-town post offices, this is the last post office the (U.S. Postal Service) will want to close,” Marquand added. “This is in many ways pretty cheap insurance to ensure that a post office stays in Tieton.”
Fundraising efforts include special pleas to people with postal service ties, folks in the arts and crafts community and longtime supporters of culture in the Yakima Valley.
Don’t want to give online? Send a check and Marquand will ensure that it’s added to the Kickstarter total — or attend the fundraiser potluck planned for July 18.
“Contact Mighty Tieton and send a check to Mighty Tieton, earmarked for the mosaic project, and we’ll make sure it’s contributed” to the Kickstarter campaign, Marquand said.
“We won’t cash the check until the whole project funds. If it doesn’t fund, they’re not on the hook.”