Matthew Inman, better known as the creator of web comic The Oatmeal, made headlines back in July after his fundraiser “Operation: Bearlove Good. Cancer Bad” went viral, raising more than $200K for in record time.
And now he's starting a new project, which involves raising money on Indiegogo to buy Wardenclyffe Tower, a symbolic landmark of Nikola Tesla’s last great piece of scientific research. Fans of the webcomic are probably familiar with Inman's adoration for the inventor, whose contributions to science was overshadowed by another
inventor called Thomas Edison.
Inman had learned that the land was going up for sale for $1.6 million on Twitter. He got in touch with a non-profit group called Tesla Science Center, who informed him that they were having trouble raising money to save the tower.
Not one to sit back and do nothing, Inman decided he to put his skills of combining art and offbeat-humor to good use by reaching out to his massive fan base to raise $850,000 in 45 days. He tells Greg Voakes of Forbes:
If we get the land, this will just secure the property as a historic site. This frees us up to try and renovate the museum or science center from here, and prevents another company from getting the property.
Building a science center will take a lot more time and money, so in the interim I’d love to have a Nikola Tesla Festival on Nikola Tesla Day (July 10). It’d just be a big one-day outdoor event in Shoreham, NY where Wardenclyffe is located. The non-profit I’m working with has the blessing of Tesla’s nephew, and one of the last remaining people on earth who personally knew Tesla and shook his hand, and I’d love to have him there. I could also probably arrange for us to have a BBQ powered by Tesla coils and possibly some Tesla-inspired musical performances. I’d be there too, of course. The Tesla Festival would be an interim way of showing everyone who donated what came of their generosity.
Within 3 hours of setting up, the fundraiser has already managed to earn more than $100,000. And it all goes well, the state of New York has offered to match the grant by donating an additional $850,000, which means Inman will have a total of $1.7 million to work on his museum project.