Philadelphia art world adopts community supported agriculture model

THERE ARE some new CSAs in town, but the only veggies or fruits that participants are likely to find in their shares will be still lifes or sculpture. "CSA" usually refers to community supported agriculture, in which you pay a fee to receive shares of a farm's seasonal produce. The fees help support the farm, while shareholders get fresh goods at good prices.

Now that model is taking root in the art world, but it's called "community supported art" instead. Two Philadelphia programs launched last month: the Philadelphia Folklore Project CSA and a joint CSA by alternative galleries Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Grizzly Grizzly. The city selected these CSAs after an open call from the Knight Foundation, which provided $2,500 per CSA plus advisers to assist in the setup.

The Folklore Project selected nine artists working in traditional and folk media for its CSA, which will offer 50 shares for $350 each. Each share contains fiber art, a metal cow bell, painted eggs, a doll, needlepoint bookmark, appliquéd baby carrier and origami. Each artist will produce a limited edition of 50 objects and, if all shares sell, will get 70 percent (roughly $1,360). The remaining 30 percent will cover program expenses, program associate Selina Morales said.

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