Ever Heard Of An Art Co-op?

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

How serious are you about supporting art? Are you willing to pay for art you haven’t seen and hasn’t even been created yet? Well, if you’re serious about supporting local artists (and interested in acquiring some art for yourself), the answer is yes. Now, Community Supported Art – Saint Louis (CSA STL), is giving you the chance.

Courtesy of CSA STL

Courtesy of CSA STL

Here’s how CSA STL works: A jury of local arts professionals will select nine local artists to create 50 shares—or works of art—for the program. Interested consumers can purchase a share for $300, with each share getting one work of art from each of the nine artists, which arrive via three boxes of art distributed at three intervals this fall. The shares will be available for purchase in mid-July.

So what can owners of shares expect in the way of art? That, of course, depends on the artist, but CSA STL suggests that participating consumers might receive anything from a series of small teacups to small original paintings or screen prints, or such unexpected items as an edition of a vinyl 7” or a letterpress edition of a poem or short story. Participants might also receive tickets to an upcoming performance or event. There will also be free pick-up events for both members and nonmembers of the CSA, which will be open to the public as a way for the community to interact, gain knowledge about the project, and become more familiar with the participating artists.

The program has several goals, primarily to allow local arts patrons to engage and help support local artists. But, it also supports artists in creating new work and helps establish relationships between artists and the community. The program also hopes to create a sustainable model of art creation by creating a new way for artists to sell their work. CSA members, in addition to becoming more immersed in the art world and becoming a catalyst in art creation, receive nine works of original art from both emerging and mid-career artists at a value price of about $33 per piece. The program will also contribute to the growth of a more vibrant arts community in St. Louis.

The organization has assembled an accomplished jury of arts professionals to ensure that the nine artists chosen for the inaugural season of the program produce art that is of a high and collectible quality. They are:

Jessica Baran– Director of fort gondo compound for the arts, poet, and faculty member of the Washington University Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art
Juan William Chávez– Founder and Director of the Northside Workshop, an organization that seeks to build community through the arts
Stan Chisholm– Practicing artist and DJ who works under the name 18andCounting
Stefanie Jacobson Kirkland– Director of Exhibitions at Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design
Jeffrey Uslip– Head Curator at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

The founders of the program –Katy Peace, Gardiner Rhoderick, and Cassandra Howard—are themselves artists, arts managers, designers, educators and writers, who want to promote the STL art community. For more information, visit the CSA STL website.

Follow Christopher Reilly on Twitter @ChristoReilly

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