What is a CSA?
This new social enterprise venture is based on the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. In an agricultural CSA, farmers sell shares in their season in advance, securing capital they can count on before harvesting any produce. Share buyers then receive produce from the farmer at regular intervals throughout the growing season. In an art CSA (Community Supported Art), a group of artists sell shares in their art before the art is created. Art patrons pay a set amount for a share, entitling them to a number of original works of art from the participating artists. Art patrons then receive those works of art at regular intervals through a fixed period (the “growing season”).
Why a CSA?
For the participating artist, Art Garden CSA will serve to generate reliable income, connect artists to new buyers, and further their careers as professional artists. Locally-created art has a unique appeal, CSAs have lower start-up costs, and they enhance the ability to forge connections between artists and patrons quickly. Unlike in a gallery, buyers purchase art shares prior to art creation, establishing reliable income, and cash in hand for artists. We have seen in our own sales, and at private galleries where our team members have worked, that connecting buyers directly with the artists increases the probability of future sales to these same collectors and increases opportunities for our artists.
The CSA distributes the artists' work directly to patrons who will display and/or gift the work, and may purchase additional work, furthering exposure for the artists. Direct sales eliminate commissions to galleries and cost of exhibitions. Advance payments to artists mean they can make art after being paid, rather than making art and hoping it sells. This risk reduction is important to so many of our artists with limited resources.
CSA's have been successfully established in locations nationwide, including Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and DC. These CSA’s have served to further the professional careers of the participating artists by connecting artists directly with local patrons, while providing income to the artists that they might not otherwise have.
Why this CSA?
Arts Unbound and Arts Access bring their significant expertise in the field of arts and disabilities, and both organizations have proven successful track records working with artists with disabilities to promote and market the individuals and their work. The staff is uniquely qualified to develop and sustain the project. Our team members have experience specific to the business of art sales, marketing, client development, and working with artists with disabilities. In addition, our team members, along with the organizations, have long standing relationships with other local non-profit art organizations, museums, galleries as well as private art collectors, independent curators and art advisors.
How is this program sustainable?
Art Garden CSA is a scalable model with potential for growth, offering unique employment alternatives for people with disabilities. In addition to locally-created art having a unique appeal, CSAs have lower start-up costs, and enhance the ability to forge connections between artists and patrons quickly, making them ideal for replication. Once established in our region, we will explore adding partners that would help us to offer CSA shares in southern and central New Jersey, and create employment opportunities for more people with disabilities across the state.
Our current financial plan is based on securing start-up grant funds for building the CSA brand and online presence. Funds from the sales of shares will go towards providing a stipend to our artists and underwriting the following year's operation costs to ensure sustainability. Advertising underwriting from local businesses who wish to reach share-buyers through distribution of coupons or flyers in shares will be another source of funding. With the data gathered through operating the CSA throughout the first cycle, we will adjust price/practices to ensure sustainability.
What if I can't attend the pickup events?
Although we strongly encourage you to come to the events and meet the artists behind the art, we understand that people's busy schedules may keep them from attenting these events. In this case, please let us know that you will be unable to attend and we will hold your share at either the Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ or Arts Unbound's Orange, NJ location for you to pick up at your earliest convenience. We also offer shipping options for an additional fee. If I like an artist who is represented in my share, can I buy art from them directly? Yes please! Our artists have many other works that are available for sale and are always creating new pieces for your consideration.
What can I expect to receive in my share?
Each share includes unique artwork made exclusively for the Art Garden CSA. When you purchase a full share you receive ten pieces of art; one artwork from each of the participating artists. You can also choose a half-share to receive five artworks. Take a look at the actual pieces shareholders received last year here.
Can I purchase individual items?
Good news! All of the items in this year's Art Garden CSA can be purchased individually. Visit our "Buy" page to learn about all your buying options.