Good things come in CSA boxes: fruits, veggies, meat and — soon — works of local art.
A new program called CSArt Madison is foraging for local artists to supply 60 works each for community-supported art shares.
CSArt will operate somewhat like community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs. It is being launched by the Arts + Literature Laboratory, a nonprofit multimedia community art space on Winnebago Street. The organizers are following a model that’s been implemented in 60 cities across the United States and Canada, hoping to boost creatives’ incomes while building connections between local artists and collectors.
“Madison is primed for a program like this because community-supported agriculture is already a big part of our culture and identity,” says Max Puchalsky, an audio-visual artist who works with Simone Doing in the duo Simone and Max.
Puchalsky and Doing sit on the Arts + Literature Laboratory’s curatorial board, which will host an informational session on “CSArt Madison” on Jan. 7, 1-3 p.m., at Goodman Library on South Park Street. Applications from artists who wish to participate are due Jan. 16. Entries across the artistic spectrum are welcome. Depending on the applicants, the offerings may include small-scale sculptures, drawings or paintings; a run of prints; photographs; vinyl 7” records; or letterpress editions of a poem or short story. The 10 artists selected — to be announced Feb. 15 — will earn a $1,000 stipend, a piece of art from each of the other nine artists and exposure to collectors and the community.
Like an agricultural CSA share, CSArt Madison aims to cut financial risk for artists. It also creates an entry point for fine art collecting for new and lower-income art buyers. “[CSArt] is designed to be a cooperative alternative to the commercial gallery system,” says Doing, adding that Madison is a difficult place for artists to make a living.
For $300, patrons will be able to buy a one-time share that includes 10 works of art; half-shares will also be available for $150. Non-purchasing community members can still take part in May and June tours of the artists’ studios and an exhibition at the Arts + Literature Laboratory, beginning June 30 and ending with a pick-up event on July 22.
At the exhibition, participating artists will be able to display larger-scale works along with their community-supported pieces. “In the same way that you would want to meet your local farmer, you would meet your local artist,” says Doing.