CSA for the Arts

| 10/6/2011 11:27:00 AM


Community-supported agriculture has been gaining steam in recent years as the local and organic food movements gain traction. The idea is people sign up to receive vegetables and fruit from local farmers in order to support them, share in the risk of food production, and receive delicious local food. Now, two art organizations in Minnesota have taken that idea to artists and art lovers. As Christy DeSmith writes at American Craft:

Springboard [for the Arts] partnered with advocacy group mnartists.org, and just months later, in May 2010, offered shares to Twin Cities collectors in the world's first-ever arts CSA. Since then, the model has been reproduced in Chicago and Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s headed for arts organizations in Detroit, Miami, and Philadelphia this year; next year it's slated for Akron, Ohio; San Jose, California; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mnartsist.org describes how Community Supported Art works:

Artists are selected from a pool of applicants by a jury composed of luminaries from local food and art communities. Selected artists will receive a stipend of $1,000 to create 50 "shares" for the program by a set deadline.  Shareholders purchase shares for $300 and will receive 1 box containing 3 works of art at 3 different pick up dates throughout the Spring/Summer season.  The pick-up evenings will be a local art sites and will be events in themselves.

To find out more about this very cool program, read this interview with Betsy McDermott Altheimer, associate director of Springboard for the Arts, at American Craft and see images at Springboard for the Arts here.

Source: American Craft, mnartists.org, Springboard for the Arts 

Rebecca aK
12/5/2011 8:47:24 AM

One thing concerns me about this: the apparent artist/dealer split of the revenues. Unless the MnArtists description of the # of works received per share is incorrect, one share costs $300 for 3 works received. Meanwhile, artists receive $1000 for 50 works: $20 per work. I'm a working artist and a curator, so I know that the typical split is 70% to 50% for the artist, especially when working at the emerging artist level. It's not 20% to the artist. With that much more equitable split comes no reduction in service - shows are still curated, artists are selected, parties are thrown - and yes this split applies to multiples as well as the "even 50 original paintings" suggested (hopefully, I do see) by the organization. I would be eager to hear whether this apparent 80% commission is really the case, and if so what its justification is.

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