2019 Retrospective

As we head into 2020, we thought it might be fun to look back at 2019 and some of the things the Dream Foundry accomplished, with a little bit of looking forward to what we hope to do in the new year, too!


Our first official Kickstarter was ambitious, aiming to fund our programming for the year with lots of stretch goals, including an early run of the contest. We reached our goal and then some, and made sure to put that money to good use! Details on many of those things are in the following sections. We’re very grateful to everyone who donated, pledged, boosted, and supported the Kickstarter.

We will be running another Kickstarter in the spring of 2020, so be on the lookout for that and expect lots of nifty loot to be available.

Official Media Exploration Club (OMEC)

One of our first major programming initiatives involved professionals from many areas coming together to discuss the theme of Found Family across different works and mediums on our forums. During the course of the OMEC, we analyzed the first two episodes of Firefly, Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, the entirety of Dragon Age: Inquisition, episode 11 of the podcast The Voice of Free Planet X, and volume 1 of the manga The Girl from the Other Side. Looking at a theme across works in different mediums allowed us to dive in depth into the craft elements of each story, and our industry professionals aided and guided the discussion. We had some great conversations—which you’re welcome to contribute to, even now, on our forums. Our president, Jessica Eanes, had some thoughts on this first program and the lessons we learned, and shared them on our blog here.

We’ll be running another iteration of this program in 2020, and we hope you’ll drop by the forums to meet the professionals, engage in good conversations, and analyze craft elements across different works.

Blog Content and Website Revamp

Our website got a new look in 2019, putting our awesome content front and center. We’ve had interviews, roundtables, industry news, articles focusing on the business of art, game design, podcasting, writing, and more.

In 2020 we’ll be looking for even more articles, interviews, and industry news. We’re going to continue providing content across the speculative arts. If you have an article you’d like to pitch to us, please get in touch with content@dreamfoundry.org. We’re particularly interested in topics relevant to art, gaming, and the pragmatics of the business.

Contest and Winners!

We ran our very first iteration of our contest for writers and artists in the fall of 2019. We had nearly 400 entries wrangled by contest coordinators William Ledbetter and Sara Felix. We’re very grateful to all of our volunteer readers and our judges: Charles Coleman Finlay, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Lisa Rodgers, agent at JABberwocky, served as judges on the writing side. On the illustration side of things, artist Rachel Quinlan was our judge.

And we’re happy to honor our contest winners!

1st: Jamie Adams
2nd: Claire Whitmore
3rd: Rose Wachowski
Honorable Mention: Lynne Sargent

And art:
1st: Alison Johnstun
2nd: Christine Rhee
3rd: Lauren Blake
Honorable Mentions: Zara Alfonso, Emily Leung, James Russell

First place winners from both contests received $500 each, and all winners received critiques from professionals in their fields. Running a version of the contest this year was a stretch for us in many ways—we ran ahead of our timelines, but we did it for many reasons. We talked about those decisions in this blog post.

In 2020 we’re going to do it again!! We have plans to make it bigger and more awesome, but a lot of that will depend on how fundraising works out. We’re already lining things up, so stay tuned to hear about our plans and how you can help us make them happen.


In 2019 the Dream Foundry officially put in an appearance at ConFusion, WisCon, ReaderCon, GenCon, ArchCon, DragonCon, and WorldCon.

Would you like to see us in 2020? Is there a con you definitely think we should check out? Please let us know!

Board Expansion

We are slowly but surely growing our board, and added two more members in 2019. Both new board members are also volunteers with the organization who have been with us from the beginning. Coral Moore, who doubles as our social media manager, and Evergreen Lee, our treasurer, are welcome new additions to the board.

In the coming year, we hope to expand the board even further and move the organization out of the start-up phase. If you’d like to know more about the behind-the-scenes management of the Dream Foundry and are considering volunteering, please get in touch with leaders@dreamfoundry.org.

Fall Auction and Merch Sale

We ran our second annual fall auction in October of 2019. With goodies all over the spectrum, from hand-carved wooden trains to signed ARCs and art prints, there was a wide variety for bidders to choose from. We also added a merchandise sale on our website, selling T-shirts, bookmarks, and enamel space dragon pins for a limited time. The fall auction was a success, and helped offset our operating costs.

Patreon Overhaul

Last year we made it easier than ever to support the Dream Foundry and simplified our Patreon, with new support levels and pretty new graphics. There are two ways to help the Dream Foundry now: becoming a $2/month Space Dragon Support or a $5/month Space Dragon Pillar. Each one of these allows us to do incredible things and ongoing funds from Patreon help us to publish more articles, run more programming on the forums, and do more for our contest winners. Pledging at the $5 level gets you a yearly gift of physical loot, too, in addition to extra bonus content. We’re very proud of the new Patreon and hope you’ll check it out.

And Now, The Future!

We’re working toward offering many exciting things in the coming year! We’ll be doing short in-person workshops on craft and business and retreats to get more in depth. On the forums, we’ll have ongoing challenges and accountability groups, so you might want to sign up now if you haven’t already. We’ve also got plans to offer a set of standardized contracts and documents to help support translators.

If you’d like to keep up with the Dream Foundry on a regular basis, consider signing up for our newsletter. It comes out monthly, with the occasional special news issue, and there are always cute cat pictures included.

Cislyn Smith

Cislyn Smith is the secretary of the Dream Foundry and a poet and short story writer who calls Madison, Wisconsin home. Her wordy work has appeared in Flash Fiction Online, Strange Horizons, and Diabolical Plots. She has been known to crochet tentacles, write stories at odd hours, play ridiculous numbers of games, make lots of lists, and study stone dead languages. She is occasionally dismayed by the lack of secret passages in her house. She lives with the amazingly photogenic kitties that appear in the Dream Foundry newsletter, and also some nice humans.

In addition to her Twitter, she can be found online on Mastodon and on Patreon.