The Station North Community Supported Art Series is Back for a Third Year!

by Rebecca Juliette

If you have been to neighborhood farmer’s markets, you’re familiar with the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). At the very least, you’ve heard about CSA’s… maybe a friend has generously offered you their extra weekly okra allowance or perhaps you’ve even thought about signing up for a season yourself. CSA’s have been around since the mid-80’s and “generally focus on the production of high quality foods for a local community, often using organic or biodynamic farming methods, and a shared risk membership–marketing structure.”

Although they can take many forms, most share the same three core characteristics:  they are local, financially supported by the sale of “shares,” and deliver to their shareholders on a regular basis (bi-weekly, monthly, etc…).*

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Imagine stretching that model beyond agriculture to encompass community art. One Baltimore neighborhood is doing just that. The Station North CSA (Community Supported Art) is in its 3rd year and, according to Ben Stone, Director of Station North, provides “an entry point to the world of art collecting for new collectors, and an opportunity to learn about new artists for more seasoned collectors.”

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For its third season, the CSA has teamed up with three partner organizations: Baltimore Clayworks, Full Circle Photo, and The Baltimore Jewelry Center (which just moved into Station North). Each of these groups has chosen four artists in their respective disciplines to contribute to the art harvest. This year’s participants are:

Shareholders buy in for $400 and then receive 6 works of art, selected from the 12 participating artists. In addition, there are monthly meetings where artists give presentations about their work so that shareholders can rank their preferences.

According to a CSA press release, this ensures “that shareholders aren’t getting a box full of kale at pick-up when they’d rather have beets.” Or in this case, jewelery when you are interested in collecting ceramics. The meetings are also a chance to build community and connection between the artists and collectors.

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Allison Gulick is CSA Director. She is enjoying the experimental nature of the program as well as the exposure to the wide range of people it attracts, artists and buyers alike. Past offerings have including everything from print-making to zines.

“There has really been a little bit of everything, since the artists change every season,” Gulick said. “We are always seeing new things and meeting new Baltimore artists. I’ve been impressed by the number of artists suggested to participate in the program that I haven’t known from other art events.”

The CSA is “a training ground for both the artists and shareholders,” says Stone. The payoff for collectors is obvious, an introduction both to new artists and their work as well as a tangible take home. For the artist, the profit is more than financial. They also gain exposure to an enthusiastic group of art admirers and then have the opportunity to discuss their work with these collectors, something that they can continually build upon as their careers progress.

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Subscriptions to the CSA are available up until the initial meeting or until they are sold out. The first meeting takes place September 8th from 6-8pm and will continue the second Tuesday of each month through December 2015.

Find out more about the program from the Station North website.

Purchase CSA shares HERE.

Email Allison Gulick with any questions ([email protected]).

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*Thank you Wikipedia