The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Media -- Dont Quote Me  |  News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In

Somerville's first artshare delivers

Fresh paint
By LIZ PELLY  |  September 14, 2011


It's Saturday afternoon outside Somerville's Block 11 Café, and a mix of long-time arts supporters and suburban thirtysomethings are mingling, eating free cookies, and eyeing a stack of 50 cardboard boxes. Inside each box is a crop of fresh local produce: the first of three shares of sculptures, photos, paintings, and prints they'll pick up this season.

"CSA" usually stands for "Community Supported Agriculture," an increasingly popular way to eat fresh greens and support local farms. But here the letters stand for something different: "Community Supported Art." Organized by the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (CCAE) with a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the program is inspired by a similar effort in Minnesota last year. Instead of buying into harvests of organic fruits and vegetables, shareholders pay a one-time fee of $300 for nine original pieces by local artists.

Just as with farm shares, art shares are a risk — but one worth taking, says participating artist James Zall. "You might not like the brussels sprouts, but you'll like something," he explains.

Susan and Dennis McHugh, from Chelmsford, peel a red "CSA 2011" sticker from their box, unwrapping yellow tissue paper to reveal today's share: a miniature clay sculpture swaddled in tan cloth and twine by Kate Martens; a black-and-white photo book by Zall; plus an acrylic-on-board painting by Christopher Poteet.

Nearby, Jaffrie Perrotti stands with his wife, Sheila, as Poteet explains the symbolism and themes in his paintings. Perrotti is delighted. "His picture makes sense now, and you can't get that from buying a painting off the wall of a gallery," he says. The newlywed Charlestown couple joined CSArt after a daunting gallery shopping experience.

"Thanks for letting us inside of your mind," Perrotti tells Poteet.

For Poteet, this is his first time meeting the buyers of his art. "Usually I'd just get an e-mail from the gallery," he says.

"Sometimes you'll get a copy of the invoice," adds Zall.

CSArt fixes a long-running "disconnect" between local artists and consumers in Boston, says Poteet.

"There's no reason anyone in Somerville should buy art from Ikea or online. . . . That would be like starving in a fertile valley," says Poteet. "And if you lived in a valley of apple trees, you wouldn't buy apples from South America."

All are welcome to attend the next harvest party on September 22, 5-7 pm at the Kendall Square Eastern Bank branch, One Broadway, Cambridge.

Related: Photos: Most popular slideshows of 2009, Let's get serious, US Marine graffiti crew tags Hyde Park, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Arts, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Massachusetts Cultural Council,  More more >
| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 11/10 ]   Ani DiFranco + Melissa Ferrick  @ Wilbur Theatre
[ 11/10 ]   "Billy Ruane Birthday Tribute Show"  @ Radio
[ 11/10 ]   "Billy Ruane Memorial Birthday Show"  @ T.T. the Bear's Place
Share this entry with Delicious
    Erika Hess showed up at Voltage Coffee & Art in Kendall Square last spring with an idea: she wanted to combine art and activism to teach people about urban gardening. But first, she needed funding.
    Zinesters perused hand-stitched books and photocopied pamphlets on topics ranging from punk politics and parenting to feminism and freeganism, while local musicians played folksy tunes on acoustic guitars, mandolins, and cello between floor-to-ceiling shelves of used books.
  •   QUILT STITCH SONIC GOLD  |  November 03, 2011
    The first track on Quilt's homonymous debut — out this week via Brooklyn label Mexican Summer — is "Young Gold," a three-minute cinematic jam stitched with the band's signature swirling group vocals, temperate drumming, and a sophisticated patchwork of '60s-twangs and Eastern-inspired tones.
  •   REVIEW: REFUGE CAFÉ  |  October 19, 2011
    When the 26-year-old Herrell's-turned-Allston Café closed its doors this past fall due to an unexpected rent hike, the neighborhood lost a favorite hotspot for meeting friends, passing out show flyers, and eating hangover brunch.
  •   VARIOUS ARTISTS | ARE YOU WITH THE BAND?  |  October 18, 2011
    With this new comp, Lauren Denitzio — former vocalist/guitarist of New Brunswick pop-punk outfit the Measure — has collected tracks by 17 of the best current underground female-fronted pop punk bands.

 See all articles by: LIZ PELLY

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed