Posts Tagged ‘community supported art’

And speaking of payment systems, community-supported agriculture has been around for years and, more recently, community-supported art. I blogged about the approach here in 2011, when the Cambridge Center for the Arts embraced the concept.

The NY Times has written about it, too. Randy Kennedy lays out the principles: “For years, Barbara Johnstone, a professor of linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University [in Pittsburgh], bought shares in a C.S.A. — a community-supported agriculture program — and picked up her occasional bags of tubers or tomatoes or whatever the member farms were harvesting.

“Her farm shares eventually lapsed. (‘Too much kale,’ she said.) But on a recent summer evening, she showed up at a C.S.A. pickup location downtown and walked out carrying a brown paper bag filled with a completely different kind of produce. …

“ ‘It’s kind of like Christmas in the middle of July,’ said Ms. Johnstone, who had just gone through her bag to see what her $350 share had bought. The answer was a Surrealistic aluminum sculpture (of a pig’s jawbone, by William Kofmehl III), a print (a deadpan image appropriated from a lawn-care book, by Kim Beck) and a ceramic piece (partly about slavery, by Alexi Morrissey).

“Without even having to change the abbreviation, the C.S.A. idea has fully made the leap from agriculture to art. After the first program started four years ago in Minnesota … community-supported art programs are popping up all over the country …

“The art programs are designed to be self-supporting: Money from shares is used to pay the artists, who are usually chosen by a jury, to produce a small work in an edition of 50 or however many shares have been sold.”

Read all about it, here. Could be risky if you really don’t want a sculpture of a pig’s jawbone. But if you look at it as supporting the arts, you are likely to be satisfied with that side of things — and there’s always a chance you will love what you get or find its value increase.

Photo: Zoe Prinds-Flash
Drew Peterson’s prints and Liz Miller’s collages were among the art for members of this C.S.A., community-supported art, in Minnesota.

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Community-supported agriculture has been working well for some years now. A person who likes local produce and wants to support local agriculture will buy a “share” that can help support a farmer (recently, even a fisherman) while giving the “investor” a guaranteed amount of food. The “dividend” could be a dozen eggs a week, a basket of produce, a partial catch of fish. Often a group of friends will band together on a share, especially if they don’t think they can use all the zucchini they expect come midsummer.

Now some artists are trying this approach. A $300 share in “Community Supported Art will get [a person] three monthly assortments of locally created artworks — nine pieces in all. … CSArt, a new project of the Cambridge [MA] Center for Adult Education, is modeled on a wildly popular Minnesota art CSA, which has inspired groups in Chicago and Frederick, Maryland, to create their versions. And some glassmakers in Burlington, Vermont., independently adopted the CSA form last year.

” ‘The success of the Minnesota program is due in part to the fact that it’s based on something people understand,’ said Laura Zabel, executive director. … CSArt aims to nurture artists as small business owners and to tap into the burgeoning enthusiasm for the local and the handmade.” Read the Boston Globe article.


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