It all started in Minnesota, at St. Paul’s Springboard for the Arts and their idea to mimic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where people buy shares in a farmer’s cooperative and then receive produce at periodic intervals as it’s harvested. Springboard for the Arts decided they’d apply the same principle to artists and artwork. The project was an immediate success.
“When I heard about what they did,” says new Sharon Arts Center Executive Director Keri Wiederspahn, “I thought: what a brilliant idea!”
So when she was appointed last summer to head Sharon Arts, she proposed that this 65-year-old not-for-profit arts organization try it as well. Now, for $330 a share (which can be purchased at $110 monthly for three months), New Hampshire art lovers can support artists and receive nine works of art over a several-month period–the first on Nov.18, followed by Dec. 15 and Jan. 19, 2012.
“The similarities of a farmer and artist are very real,” Wiederspahn says, “beginning with the dedication of their hands to the act of creation. Both local artists and farmers are dependent upon community support, and the long-term results of a project like this hold the potential for generating many wonderful relationships and educating the public on a specific set of local talent and artistry.”
She said the difficulty, however, lies in explaining to people how the whole CSArt idea works. “Sometimes people just can’t grasp the concept that they can actually receive nine pieces of art for only $330, or else they wonder how the artist can possibly be reimbursed properly. “But if you do the math and look at the whole picture you realize it’s a win-win situation for everybody,” she says. “It’s a chance for the artists to gain an enormous marketing and visibility potential and for the shareholders to broaden their artistic appreciation.”
CSArt Sample - photo by Justin Schwartz
And if shareholders receive works of art they don’t like–such as rutabagas, say, from an agricultural coop–they can exchange that piece of art with someone who does like–well, that rutabaga sort of art. A benefit of the nine pieces of art coming now is that they can also be given as holiday gifts, as well as birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries.
Many of the nine artists chosen to participate in Sharon Art Center’s first CSArt project–selected in a juried competition–are well known to the Monadnock region: Craig Stockwell, Soosen Dunholter, Colette Lucas, Tanya Prather, Fernando Martins, Jack Ahearn, Kate Lenahan, Lynn Latimer, and Jean Meinhardt. Their work represents a broad range of styles and mediums in the visual arts, from painting, drawing, and ceramics to photography and collage art.
Wiederspahn, who was interviewed recently about the CSArt project on NHPR’s “Word of Mouth,” says that shares can be purchased at any time prior to Dec. 2, just before the second festive “Pick-Up” evening at the Sharon Arts Gallery. “The essence of a project like this,” she adds, “is about building reciprocity and authentic relationships between artists and the larger community of the Monadnock region. We sincerely hope to open doors for a healthy creative dialogue that forges collaboration, support, and respect to yield a stronger arts ecology and future.”
On Friday, Nov. 18 the first “Pick-Up” party will be held in conjunction with the opening of the Sharon Arts Center’s new exhibition “Holiday Miniatures,” along with their annual “Ornaments Extravaganza,” which will be held from 5-7 pm at the Gallery, located at 30 Grove St. in Peterborough. The opening is free and open to the public.
Sharon Arts Center’s annual Holiday Miniatures Exhibit will open at their Downtown Exhibition Gallery, 30 Grove St., on Nov. 18 with a reception from 5 to 7 pm.
The exhibit, which will run through Jan. 13, includes hundreds of miniature and small works of art ranging from traditional to contemporary as well as many different mediums including oil,
"Study for Still Water," oil, by Betty Glass, Jaffrey, NH
watercolor, pastel, collage, photography, and more.
The miniatures are ten inches square and smaller, and offer a wide range of prices to appeal to just about any pocketbook. This is a great opportunity to own or give original art at affordable prices, while supporting local artists. Artwork may be taken at the time of purchase, and as work sells walls will be refreshed with new pieces throughout the show.
The highlight of this fun-filled event will be the unveiling of Christmas trees decorated with donated artistic ornaments, which will be available for purchase at $25 each.
Also featured during the festivities is the first Pick-Up event for those participating in the new CSArt Project, in which those who bought a CSArt share for $330 will have an opportunity to receive three of nine works of art over a three-month period and talk with the participating artists. CSArt shares are still available and may be purchased by calling (603) 924-7676.
There will be live music during the evening, which is free and open to the public, and refreshments will include mulled cider, wine, and hors-doeuvres. For further information call (603) 924-7676
(photos attached from last year’s show)
"Crazy Quilt," encaustic, by Earl Schofield, Antrim NH
The Sharon Arts Center School of Art and Craft, located at 457 Rt. 123, Sharon, NH, is currently taking registrations for its Session 2 Fall Session, which begins the week of Nov. 14. Classes at the school include drawing and painting, ceramics, glass, fiber, jewelry, metalworking, photography and digital media. A full line-up of offerings can be found here.
The Sharon Arts online registration system will be officially launching in time for Fall Session 2, and all students who are enrolling in a Session 2 class are encouraged to contact the office to set up their account. “We’re very excited to begin using the new database and tracking system,” says School Director Alexandra Wall, “as it will help enormously in ensuring smoother registration operations as well as maintaining class and student records.”
New classes on the schedule for Session 2 include Advanced Ceramics with Janet Duchesneau and Drawing 2 with Robert Seaman as well as a range of metal casting workshops. The Session 2 classes will run through the week of January 9th. Winter classes will start immediately on the following week.
“We look forward to offering ongoing classes with the new session system,” says Wall. “With less downtime between the scheduled classes, students can stay active in the studio, keep going on projects, progress more quickly in their classes, and make more consistent use of our resources and community. It will also provide steady work for our teaching artists and a busier school.”
“I am convinced there is a link between corrugated board and creativity. Its very valuelessness liberates us. Boxes, tubes, sheets of corrugated board – everything that lives between the good stuff and garbage – becomes a perfect partner for play. Rescued from trash, it asks only, “What do you want me to be?” Corrugated board is the DNA of creativity. Boxes, glue, tape, knives and a group of willing people can create anything. And have a great time doing it.” – James Grashow, Artist (Redding, CT), Sharon Arts 2006 Artist-in-residence and hopeful returning artist May 2012
Peterborough, NH — In 2006, cardboard artist extraordinaire James Grashow came to the Sharon Arts Center to create what many feel was Sharon Arts’ most memorable exhibit.
Five years later, with the arts facing a shortfall in funding via the usual channels of private donations and arts council grants, the Sharon Arts Center has launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com, an online site that has drawn national funding for projects by individual artists as well as organizations.
Sharon Arts’ Kickstarter proposal, if fully funded at $10,000, will “Bring Jimmy Back” to participate in a collaborative “Garden of the Imagination” project and exhibition with area schools in 2012. As an organization with a 65-year commitment to arts in the region, Sharon Arts hopes this event will mark the continuation of an ambitious campaign to become a more accessible and valuable arts education resource for the entire southern New Hampshire community.
“This is a very unique opportunity to empower a community in a collective effort to bring a very accomplished master artist to collaborate with the youth of the region,” says new Sharon Arts Executive Director Keri Wiederspahn. “We sincerely hope the campaign will ignite and allow this experience to take place in the spring. The whole gallery will be taken over with a giant cardboard garden with larger than life flowers, bugs, and other inhabitants that will open up the creative process and the imagination.”
James Grashow’s work ranges in scale from large environmental installations through which a viewer can walk, to delicate houseplants, where a miniature world buds within a bouquet. A graduate of Pratt Institute, a Fulbright scholar, father and grandfather, James is convinced that, as he says, “magical art can be made from the most mundane of materials.” Grashow has recently shown work at MassMOCA, one of the nation’s preeminent contemporary art museums.
Constructing his pieces from cardboard, paper, and occasionally wood, Grashow says he is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the children of Peterborough (and beyond) to create a larger-than-life fantasy garden of the imagination, complete with corrugated plants, flowers and insects, real and mythical.
“We are confident that the impact of James Grashow and his infectious energy will be something these children will never forget as they continue to test, push and explore the boundaries of their creativity each year,” adds Wiederspahn. “We anticipate to have over 25 area schools with over 1200 students and nearly 40 teachers participating in various ways. Several events and workshops will lead up to an exhibition opening when the installation is complete, and during the 2012 Children and the Arts Festival.”
Plans for the festival include a total of approximately 100 students making a corrugated 3-D work with Grashow that will become part of an installation called “Garden of the Imagination.” Children from area elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as home-schoolers, will work with Grashow, who will be artist in residence at Sharon Arts during in the two weeks leading up to the opening reception.
In addition, Sharon Arts Center will host a workshop for area teachers whose students will be working with Grashow and making work inspired by his processes and materials. Grashow will also be available to meet families of the participants at the Sharon Arts Center Gallery, located at 30 Grove St. in Peterborough. While “Garden of the Imagination” will be open to the public, many of the pieces constructed will also parade through town as a part of an annual festival celebration.
Wiederspahn notes that after the official opening in late May, over 700 students from 12 area schools throughout the Monadnock region will be participating in interactive educational field trips to the “Garden of the Imagination” exhibition for tours and activities to “explore the magic of cardboard art and the limitless capacity of the imagination.”
The Sharon Arts Center will present a “Ladies Night Out” Nov. 10 from 6 to 9 pm at their Downtown Exhibition Gallery and Store located in Depot Square.
LAFF (Ladies Art, Fashion and Fun) is an evening consisting of trunk shows from clothing retailers in the area, specialty food tastings, wine and cheese pairings, makeup consultations, jewelry sales and a fashion show. One lucky attendee will be treated to a style make-over complete with hair, makeup and more. Also featured will be free raffles of estate jewelry, wines and gift cards.
Sharon Arts Center Trustee and event organizer Ann Wilkins says, “This is a great night out for the ladies and the makeover will be super fun. The lucky gal will have a before photo taken and then at the close of the fashion show have her “after” look revealed.”
All retailers displaying their wares will also offer ticket holders a 20 percent discount on all purchases that night and for the following 10 days. The retailers will give 10% of that discount back to the Sharon Arts Center. Wilkins further explains that “this is a unique way for the ladies to shop on items they would normally buy for themselves or for the holidays, bring the retailers new customers, and help Sharon Arts Center further their mission. Everyone wins.”
Hosting the fashion show will be Country Bridals of Jaffrey and Miranda’s Verandah of Keene. Trunk show vendors include Underneath it All, DancingJacquie.com (formerly the Renaissance Room), Jewelry by Sharon Arts, chocolate confections by Unbridled Chocolates in Marlborough, and Arbonne cosmetics and personal care products via Karen Crum. Food tastings will be presented by the Waterhouse Restaurant and Bar, while wine and cheese pairings will be from The Wine Society. Door prizes will be offered by Michelle Carter of Bowerbird and Friends, local jeweler Naomi Tussin, and European Esthetics as well as other local retailers.
During the evening women will be encouraged to make out wish lists, which will then be presented at a Men’s Night Out known as the “Queen’s Ransom” to be held Dec. 1 at the Gallery–an evening featuring Scotch-tasting and appetizers and allowing the men to purchase holiday gifts for the spouses/significant others.
Tickets for the event, which can be purchased at the Sharon Arts School and Gallery, are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For more information call (603) 924-7676.
The Sharon Arts Center is sending out a Call to Artists under 30 for a juried art exhibition that will open on Mar. 3, 2012 and run through April 28, 2012.
“We’re looking for artists under 30 from anywhere in New England who will deal with the questions: who am I, what is my view on the world today, and how do I fit in,” says organizer Kate Lenahan. “Whether presented through traditional mediums and principles or through new and innovative elements and techniques, it is our hope that this exhibition will provide contrasting examples of hope and despair for the viewer to investigate. Entries will be judged on technical merit, aesthetic quality, creativity, and how well the subject interprets the concept.”
A $500 award for Best in Show will be given, Lenahan adds, along with two Honorable Mentions awards. To be eligible, the artist’s birthday cannot come before May 1, 1981, and he or she must be out of high school. Mediums under consideration include all 2D, 3D, and digital (animation, film) media. Work that has not been previously shown at the Sharon Arts Center is acceptable, and all work must be for sale. Each artist can submit up to five pieces for consideration. All 2D submissions must be framed, wired, and ready to hang (sectional metal frames, saw tooth hangers, glass clips, and unframed matted images are not acceptable).
There is an entry fee of $15 and a submission deadline of Dec. 31, 2011. Those selected for the exhibition will be notified by Jan. 16, 2012.
Jurors for this exhibition are Cathy Sununu, director of the Portsmouth Museum of Art; Craig Stockwell, artist and professor at Keene State College; and Tim Donovan, artist and director of Launch Art Galleries.