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St. Louis Program Selling Shares Of Artists’ Work Pays Off

Katherine Miller and examples of the art done for CSA
Photo of Miller by Jeganaath Giri; of artwork provided by CSA

In her last year at SEMO, printmaking major Katherine Miller of St. Louis knows she needs to think about the business of art even as she plans for grad school.

Miller's exposure to collectors was enhanced when she was picked for a new effort of Community Supported Art – St. Louis this past summer.  In the program, 50 people buy shares for $300 apiece, then collect work from nine artists. The art is distributed at three different pickup events, the last of which is tonight at Nebula business workspace (details, below).

Miller likes to use printmaking to create unique objects. For the CSA effort, she came up with a collection of prints that cover foam structures. Being part of the new project has helped Miller connect with collectors and other artists.

“Art by itself is fantastic but it’s even more fantastic when it can create relationships and conversations with people,” Miller said. “CSA was great way to do that with 50 people all at once.”

Low stakes, great value

CSA chief organizer Katy Peace also considers the program a success. Within two week of its July announcement, all 50 shares were sold. Each artist receives $1,000 of the proceeds. At least one sold an additional piece and another received a studio visit because of the exposure.

Katy Peace, right in striped top, at an earlier pickup event
Credit Provided by Community Support Art
Katy Peace, right in striped top, at an earlier pickup event

“It’s kind of early to tell what the aftereffects are going to be but we are hoping these relationships will continue,” Peace said. “Artists are always trying to find new ways to get art out there and find new audiences and this is another way to do that.”

Peace is already gearing up for the next launch. A call for artists will go out in January and the first pickup will take place this summer. Possible changes include more than nine artists and the option to buy half-shares.

“I think people really responded to the idea of having that easy entry point for supporting local artists and experiencing art,” Peace said. “The cost is low, the stakes are low and the value is great.”

Rosanna Benitez of Chesterfield is among the shareholders. The retired elementary-school art teacher said it's definitely worth the money, and she'd do it again.

"There aren't very many places you can get nine pieces of artwork for $300," Benitez said. "Each one of the pieces of art is very different from the others. It's been very nice."


Community Supported Art Pickup Event

Where: Nebula business space, 3407 S Jefferson Ave., 63118

When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13

How much: Free

Information: CSA Facebook page

Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

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