Agriculture, as it turns out, is not the only enterprise a community can support–the popular CSA model that so many people use to stock their pantries can also fund other endeavors. Community Supported Art programs are catching on across the country. The New York Times reported on the trend last month in an article you may have missed in the last lazy days of summer, mentioning that Brooklyn would be getting its own art CSA this fall, CSA+D Brooklyn, which will distribute is first shares on Sept. 21.
“The CSA model adds to the options open to artists and designers to get their work out,” says Jill Allyn Peterson, who started CSA+D Brooklyn with Dianne Debicella. “There are so many talented people here in New York creating beautiful art and design works. Likewise, there are also many people here who would love to collect original work, and are willing to pay for something more than a generic print to hang on their wall, but can’t afford the high-end art gallery prices and don’t know where to find the work of those who have yet to hit the big time.”
At CSA+D Brooklyn art and design professionals pick a group of artists and designers each month to create pieces for the program. These works include everything from paintings to drawings, books, photographs, prints, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, collage, sculptures and housewares (all of which must be able to fit inside a 18” x 12” x 12” box). The artists and designers commit to creating 50 of each object, which could mean 50 identical prints, or 50 different items conceived of as a series. Buyers purchase a full share ($500 for six pieces) or a half-share ($250 for three pieces). Just like a farm share, shareholders don’t know what they will receive until pick-up day when they open up their box.
“The reaction so far has been encouraging,” Peterson says. “With over 300 applicants in our very first open call, the response from the artists and designers has been incredibly positive. Seeing how quickly the first pick-up sold out was also very encouraging, and just seeing people’s eyes light up when we talk to people about the project gives us the sense that this opportunity to connect with artists and designers in a new way is something that really resonates with people.”
If you missed reservations for CSA+D Brooklyn’s first fall pick up, have no fear because there’s still room to reserve a share in the second distribution, taking place Oct. 19 at the New York Foundation for the Arts in Dumbo. The two fall shares will include the work of 12 different artists and designers, most of them local.
“What makes the CSA+D unique is the opportunity for the artists to create work for an audience committed to buying the work, regardless of what it is,” Debicella says. “For the shareholders, it’s a unique experience in that they have no idea what they are going to get, but want art and possibly don’t know what kind of art they like. It connects art lovers to up-and-coming artists in a unusual way.”