• March 2, 2015

New Community Supported Arts program funds local artists - The Breeze: Life

New Community Supported Arts program funds local artists

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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 9:10 pm | Updated: 9:15 pm, Wed Mar 19, 2014.

With a wonderful view of the lush, rolling Appalachian Mountains, and its beautiful, rural landscapes, Harrisonburg is chock-full of inspiration for artists.

And now, community members have the chance to own a piece of this art haven.

The Old Furnace Artist Residency (OFAR) and Larkin Arts have partnered to bring affordable, original art to the Harrisonburg and Rockingham community through a new program called Community Supported Arts (CSArts).

The idea for the structure of the program was taken from community-supported agriculture models. With this model, farmers sell a certain number of shares to members of the community and are then required to give shareholders a predetermined amount of seasonal produce each week.

“I was familiar with the community-supported agriculture models, as many of my friends were either buyers or producers for them. But recently, I had noticed the start of CSArts programs,” Jon Henry, a student in the master’s of fine arts program at JMU and the founder of OFAR, said. “There are CSArts models in closer places like Charlottesville and Berryville, Va. I feel like CSArts just makes sense for Harrisonburg because it has such a deep farming and art history.”

The CSArts program will work the same way, with the exception that instead of receiving locally-grown food, shareholders will receive a harvest of works of art from local artists, ranging from paintings to sculptures to photography. Individuals can buy a share for $425 and will receive one piece of art per month from April to November. For the first year of the program, there will be a maximum of 10 shares available.

“We made a list of quality artists that we knew locally who were prolific, with high personal standards, and had a flexible, adventurous spirit,” Valerie Smith, the owner of Larkin Arts and a JMU Class of 2001 alumna, said. There are currently seven local artists involved with CSArts. “We narrowed that list as we decided to ensure a range of media. We now have two mixed media artists, a wood turner, a drawing genius, a photographer, a jewelry artist and a printmaker.”

Each artist is responsible for creating 10 pieces of art a month, one for each shareholder. Paul Riner, owner of Riner Rentals as well as a shareholder, thinks that CSArts is a unique way to connect local artists to the art lovers in the community, while also supporting the local art scene.

“The fact that we don’t know what type of art we will get over the eight month subscription makes it even more exciting,” Riner said. “Some of it will end up on our walls, some may end up at my office, others may be given as gifts. The possibilities are endless.”

At $425 for a share that lasts eight months, shareholders will receive eight original pieces of local art for a little over $50 a piece, while the local artists get the chance to get their art out into the community. Each artists gets $500 from the sold shares, and the remaining $200 goes toward promotion costs.

“Artists get to create and residents get a great sampling of local artists at an incredible price,” Riner said. “It’s a really good marriage between the creative minds of the artists and the uncreative people like myself who still love to appreciate the incredible work they do.”

This is the first year for CSArts, but it hopes to make it an annual harvest. Because they recruit local artists for the program, there is room for JMU students to be a part of CSArts in the program’s future.

“If a JMU student is an active member of the local art community, then they would by all means be welcome to participate,” Smith said.

There are currently five out of the ten CSArts shares left and the deadline to register is on Saturday. The shares will be ready to pick up at Larkin Arts on the first Monday of each month. To purchase a share, stop by Larkin Arts at 61 Court Square or call (540) 236-4223.

“CSArts is a great way to get some great art, support local artists and give those artists free reign to create using their talents,” Riner said.

Contact Lauren Hunt at huntle@dukes.jmu.edu.

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