The Muse Project was formed to create opportunities for showcasing women’s work. Now, it’s crowdfunding to further its mission.

Since 2015, the organization has been boosting the number of women-led plays by helping female actors develop passion projects. Founded by actress and filmmaker Jocelyn Kuritsky, it asks would-be women collaborators about the roles they want to play, the stories they want to tell, and what they would need to bring those visions to life. The organization then connects selected actresses to key contacts and resources, and presents their finished works in a performance series.

[Related: The Story Exchange on Women in Hollywood]

The New York City-based Muse Project says it’s giving women unprecedented control over their creative destinies. In addition to supporting new plays, the organization hosts workshops, conducts research on barriers to women’s representation in the industry, and connects emerging actresses with established ones at networking events. All of its efforts are geared toward a single long-term goal: “a paradigm shift for women actors.”

Research paints a bleak picture for women in the arts today. In 2017, women accounted for just 12 percent of movie directors — and minorities comprised only 10 percent — according to the Director’s Guild of America. Women in the theater world don’t fare much better.

[Related: A Female Filmmaker Takes On Hollywood Gender Inequity]

Now, the organization is crowdfunding to put on five women-led projects during a new week-long festival scheduled for the fall. The need for those works is more pressing than ever, the organization says. “​In fraught political times, leadership from unique angles and underrepresented communities is the key to our evolution,” it says on its site. “The Muse Project overtly propels women’s stories forward, and the world is hungry for them.”

The Money: The Muse Project team has until Sept. 7 to meet its campaign goal of $15,000. Those funds will be used to supplement grants to be awarded to five actresses. What remains will be put toward hiring collaborators and paying for lights, costumes and other production-related costs.

[Related: Read about other crowdfunding women featured by The Story Exchange.]