Photo Credit: Philadelphia Folklore Project
At a packed house in Philadelphia's City Hall, Knight Foundation, in partnership with The City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy and Springboard for the Arts, recently launched Community Supported Art.
The idea of Community Supported Art is based on the Community Supported Agriculture model, which allows local residents to buy food direct from local farmers.
In Philadelphia, eighteen artists have been selected by two local arts organizations to create 100 shares of the program. For $450, a “collector” can get nine pieces from local artists selected by Grizzly Grizzly a local arts collaborative and for $350, a collector can get pieces from nine artists at Philadelphia Folklore project. Each organization will sell fifty shares. Once all the shares are sold, artists and collectors come together throughout the year for “pick up” events, where collectors pick up their artwork and have a chance to meet the artists.
It is a model where everyone wins, artists get paid for their work, everyday people like me get to become collectors and our dollars stay in Philadelphia supporting our own.
The City of Philadelphia's Chief Cultural Officer, Gary Steuer, noted that the program is a great model for connecting artist to community and is completely sustainable. With support from Knight, the program has already had success in communities like Macon and St. Paul. About the program's expansion to Philadelphia, Knight's Vice President/Arts, Dennis Scholl said: "Community Supported Art is a fun and engaging way to continue our efforts to make art general in Philadelphia. It's also an innovative way to strengthen and support the efforts of local artists by fostering relationships between them and the community in which they live."
Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter was on hand to support the initiative and noted how these types of programs make the arts accessible and available for everyone. Personally, I never imagined I could be a collector but now I can be because I can purchase a share with 99 other Philadelphians.
You can learn more about Community Support Art from the video below.
By Donna Frisby-Greenwood, program director/Philadelphia at Knight Foundation