CSA: Community Supporting Arts

the Project, Step by Step

CSA: Community Supporting Arts partnered Maine artists with CSA farmers in central Maine and asked them to get to know each other well over the course of the 2012 growing season. The artists created work inspired by their farmers’ lives, work, landscapes, challenges and ideals.  We limited partnering farmers to those operating CSAs or “Community Supported Agriculture” farms. A CSA farm sells “shares” at the beginning of the growing season and then provides fresh, seasonal food on a weekly basis to each shareholding household throughout the growing season. Community Supported Agriculture is a grassroots response to the growing social and environmental problems of our modern industrial food system.

The goal of CSA:Community Supporting Arts is to use the creative synergy between artists and farmers to showcase sustainable agriculture; provide artists with a venue to use the power of their work to reflect and affect social change; demonstrate that the arts are a relevant voice in everyday life; raise the profile of individual artists; and strengthen the arts as a component of Maine’s creative economy.  

The project culminated in a series of art exhibitions and a local foods celebration during the 2012 harvest. KVAA partnered with other groups working to promote the local farming movement, but primarily the Kennebec Local Food Initiative, an organization based in Gardiner, Maine that strives to strengthen community food security through access, education, information and advocacy.

It is our hope that other arts and community organizations will be inspired to recreate this project in their own communities!

CSA: Community Supporting Arts by The Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, Maine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://harlowgallery.org/csa-community-supporting-arts/.


Table of Contents

Steering Committee -- page 3-4

Other key volunteers & consultants & steering committee meeting notes -- page 5

Call for artists and farmers and selection process -- page 6-8

Timeline -- page 9-10

Artists’ meetings - page 11

Facebook group & Indiegogo campaign -- page 12

Photo-documentation & documentary video -- page 13-14

Marketing & PR samples -- page 15-17

Press links -- 18-19

Project book -- page 20

Project tshirt -- page 21

Common Ground Fair - page 22

Local Food Celebration - page 23

First exhibition, the Harlow Gallery - page 23

Exhibition series -- page 25-28

Feedback from artists, farmers & steering committee members -- page 29-33

January check in with farmers -- page 34

Credits -- page 35


Assemble your team

CSA:Community Supporting Arts was a project of the Kennebec Valley Art Association, a 501(c)3 membership based arts organization.  Executive Director Deborah Fahy came up with the original idea.  The KVAA was founded in 1959 in Augusta, Maine, we’ve owned and operated the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell since 1963. We worked in partnership with the Kennebec Local Food Initiative, an organization based in Gardiner, Maine that strives to strengthen community food security through access, education, information and advocacy; especially with founder Sarah Miller.

The following folks made up our steering committee:

Nancy Keenan Barron, a Maine native and lifelong student of the arts, has worked at the Harlow Gallery since 2007, currently serving as Program Director and Volunteer Coordinator. Nancy believes the arts are an important community builder often bringing awareness to efforts that might not otherwise get exposure. Local farms have become an important inspiration for Nancy in her artwork as well as a site for various classes she conducts. Viewing these working farms, as a painter, gives her deeper understanding of life in the day of the farmer. Nancy’s role - selection committee, exhibition and event planning & coordinating, artist wrangling, volunteer coordinator, troubleshooting, project correspondence, Harlow Gallery exhibition installation, gallery sales, videographer coordination.

Nancy Bixler is the Administrative Assistant for the Harlow Gallery and a Hallowell artist.  She is an Associate Programmer for the Maine International Film Festival and a staff member at Railroad Square Cinema.  Her background includes art, education and film. Before coming to Maine in 2005 to work with community health centers as part of a VISTA project, she practiced small-scale sustainable farming for more than 20 years. Nancy’s role - selection committee, bookkeeping & clerical, farmer support, Crosstrax exhibition coordination & installation, marketing support.

Laura Budde is relatively new to Maine but has already made substantial connections to the central Maine community through her work with FoodCorps, a national, non-profit service organization working to connect youth with local farms. She works closely with Maine School Administrative District #11 in the Gardiner area, and with schools in Augusta and Bowdoinham. She hopes to use this project with Harlow Gallery to teach children about local foods in a more visual manner. Laura is originally from Minnesota, and is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Sustainable Food Systems. Laura's passion is farming, and she has worked on 4 different farms throughout the U.S. She is energized about improving access to healthy local foods and creating a more sustainable community. Laura’s role - education consultant

Chris Cart is a Hallowell based artist, muralist, illustrator, graphic designer and website designer. Cart studied art and art history at the University of Washington, Seattle and Coker College, South Carolina. Cart is represented by Clark House Gallery, in Bangor, Harbor Square Gallery in Rockland and Mast Cove Galleries in Kennebunkport. Chris’s role - selection committee, blog design & administration, project book design & editing, graphic design and marketing support, t shirt design

Deborah Fahy has served as the Executive Director of the Harlow Gallery since 2004.  She earned a BFA in Painting from Pratt Institute, and a MS in Arts Administration from Boston University.  She lives in Hallowell and is committed to feeding her family locally grown and produced food whenever possible.

Deb’s role - concept originator, grant writing & grant administration, selection committee, marketing & pr including website & social media promotions, Indiegogo campaign coordinator, project book editor, exhibition & event planning & coordinating, troubleshooting, artist wrangling, Crosstrax exhibition installation, music booking (local food celebration)

Dalziel Lewis is a CSA farmer.  In residence at Goranson’s Farm in Dresden, Dig Deep Farm serves 32 member households and participates in three area farmer’s markets (in Gardiner, Hallowell and Augusta.  She has an arts background in dance and movement. Dalziel’s role - selection committee, farm consultant

Sarah Miller: Right out of college, Sarah apprenticed on two organic farms.  She loved the experience of being directly connected to her food source.  She holds a Masters in Socially Responsible Business and Sustainable Communities from Goddard College, with a focus on food systems. Currently, she heads up the Kennebec Local Food Initiative, an organization based in Gardiner, Maine that strives to invigorate the edible economy and strengthen community food security through access, education, information and advocacy.  She serves on the Gardiner Farmers' Market steering committee and is an active part of the Maine Network of Community Food Councils.  For five years Sarah was also part of Artdogs, a small artist collective, and she co-coordinated Artwalk Gardiner.  Sarah’s endeavors are also informed by her background in sociology, her work as a massage therapist and her training in photography.  She enjoys making her own yogurt, butter and granola and is currently exploring the ins and outs of lacto-fermentation. Sarah’s role - selection committee, farm consultant, event planning & coordination, volunteer & farmer’s market coordinator for local food celebration.

Note about selecting a steering committee:  It is advisable to have a person knowledgeable of the farms in your area-a farm liaison, so to speak and a good graphics person on the steering committee-(inside knowledge of project is optimal for the graphics person for branding and efficiency)

Other key volunteers & consultants:

Michael Hudak -- Harlow Gallery exhibition curator & preparator

Michael Ferry, Bill Haley, Justine Harrington, Kelsey Kobik, Nancy McGinnis, Allison McKeen and Keith Spiro - photo documentation

Art Mayers -- documentary film

Gay Grant - grant writing support

Amy LeBlanc - Common Ground Fair Exhibition Hall, Unity

Ellen Gibson & Tracy Weber - Vaughan Homestead Foundation, Hallowell

Emilie M. Knight - Common Street Arts, Waterville

Taryn Hammer & Janna Civittolo - Sheepscot General, Whitefield

Grace Goldburg & Polly Steadman - Savory Maine Dining & Provisions, Damariscotta

Monica Murphy - Crosstrax Neighborhood Deli, Unity

Anna Abaldo -- Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, Belfast

Andrea Rouillard -- U Maine Hutchinson Center, Belfast

Emily Wolf Walker -- Frontier, Brunswick

steering committee meetings

We met at least monthly during the course of the project, and more often during the selection and active planning phase. Here are some sample notes from May 2012

Artist meeting is this Sunday at 3pm.  You are all welcome! Our next meeting is Thursday, June 7th at noon. here's what we talked about and are going to do;

BLOG -- Chris is adding analytics so we'll have some stats at next meeting. We're going to talk to the artists on Sunday about ideas for more regular participation

BOOK --material deadline from artists/farms August 15; we agreed on the 7x7" format. Chris is going to get us some paper samples for the next meeting. New idea! custom dust jackets

INDIEGOGO almost ready to go, Scott Minzy is finishing the video, Deb is going to finish updating the text (change to # of artists, farmers etc.), no cards, add listing on blog site and in book for donors. Farm categories will be emailed shortly for your review.

PHOTOGRAPHERS we agreed to not to a call but to approach a list of candidates.

Nancy Barron is going to check through CSA applications to complete the list. Currently we have:

Bill Haley, Nancy McGinnis, Keith Spiro, Kelsey Kobik, Linwood Riggs and Chris Cart as our last minute panic backup., Deb is going to write up a simple agreement and description of what we need from each photographer based on our discussion yesterday.

LOCAL FOOD CELEBRATION - Saturday October 13 during Hallowell's annual  Fall Festival

Sarah is going to confirm with the Vaughan Homestead and contact farmers to save that date!  We have not talked times -- this could be a lunch or dinner event if that helps...

will dive into planning at next meeting.

The call for artists and farmers

Our call was out for only 6 weeks.  We recommend you allow more like three months if you can! It takes time to get the word out.  In the end we received applications from 50 artists and 21 farms.  We heard from people after the deadline who were disappointed they hadn’t heard about the project in time.

We sent out a press release statewide, put out a call on Facebook and listed the call with community calendars including the Maine Arts Commission, MPBN and various local calendars.  We asked radio stations to put out public service announcements on the project. We also contacted nonprofits working with farmers, such as MOFGA to see if they could help spread the word.  We mailed information to art departments at colleges statewide and put up flyers. Here’s a link to the call on our website: http://www.harlowgallery.org/wordpress1/?p=5409.  

Applications for both farmers and artists are available on this page in pdf form.

Reviewing the applications

A core group of six from our project planning committee worked together to select and match our artists and farmers.  It worked well and seemed like a good working number. We are, for the most part, visual thinkers so we organized our meetings accordingly.  We first had everyone review applications and choose their top twelve farms and artists.  Since most applications were received via email we reviewed them that way first -- everyone could do this from home. You could even set up a gmail account just for your project.  Then we met and discussed and lobbied for our favorites.  We all agreed it was a surprisingly difficult task!

Using a map was super helpful in determining geographic proximity to central Maine and between artists and farms.  

Our initial application form was very simple and we followed up with questions to many of our applicants before making our final decision.  We did it this way because we did not want to make the initial application too onerous and intimidating.  Here are a list of some of the follow up questions we came up with as a group.  Not everyone was asked every questions.  Some artists were asked very specific questions, for example, a photographer was asked about the processes they used for printing work, and how they’d display it in an exhibition.

Your work examples are in a media/genre that does not immediately lend itself to capturing the subject of farming.  How do you see it happening successfully?  Are you planning to expand on the subject matter you sent us for this CSA project?  Or will you be maintaining this ongoing theme? or looking for a new theme? | Would you consider doing any video work? If so, would you be able to provide all necessary equipment for the duration of each exhibition? | What days of the week would you likely be available to visit your farm?  What part of the day? | Farm work can be messy, dirty, smelly and wet.  Are you ready and willing to deal with that reality? | Are you good with children? Conversely, is there any reason you’d prefer to be on a farm without young children? | Are you willing to accept occasional direction/guidance/feedback from the planning team? | Would you be willing to participate in an informal, entirely optional closed Facebook group for artists and farmers? | What do you hope to get out of this professionally?  Personally? | What is the current price range of your artwork?  Are there any current gallery affiliations that would preclude or limit you from offering your work for sale at the Harlow Gallery or another venue during the exhibition series? | Assuming you will be packing a "tool-kit" of sorts for this project, please describe some items that you will "pack" in your kit.  Include some practical physical items, some psychological or character items and some art related items.

 

Our original  goal was to match 10 artists and 10 farms.  We voted to expand the project a little in case one or more of our matches didn’t work out, so we match 14 artists with 14 farms.   When we made the matches, we asked the artists and farmers to meet each other face to face, and then to contact us separately to confirm their partnership was a “go”. We only had one match fail, and it was because the farmer had preconceived ideas of the type of artist she wanted to work with. Here are our final partners as announced on March 31, 2012:

Kate Barnes of Oakland is partnered with Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan.

Susan Bickford of Newcastle and Kelsey Kobik of Portland are partnered with Goranson Farmin Dresden, and Dig Deep Farm (in residence at Goranson Farm).

Aleana Chaplin of Gardiner is partnered with Winterberry Farm in Belgrade.

Kim Christensen of Albion and Jamie Ribisi-Braley of Manchester are partnered with Wholesome Holmstead in Winthrop.

Matt Demers of Gardiner is partnered with SNAFU Acres Farm in Monmouth.

Kerstin Engman of Liberty is partnered with Treble Ridge Farm in Whitefield.

Tyler Gulden of Walpole is partnered with Morning Dew Farm in Newcastle.

Christine Higgins of Readfield is partnered with Annabessacook Farm in Winthrop.

Scott Minzy of Pittston is partnered with Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner.

Maina Handmaker of Brunswick is partnered with Milkweed Farm in Brunswick.

Petrea Noyes of Lincolnville is partnered with Crescent Run Farm in Bremen.

Emily Trenholm of Portland is partnered with Fresh Start Farms in Lisbon.

TIMELINE - (here’s ours as of early May)

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2011

⌦ planning committee formed and begins work

DECEMBER 2011

December 9 - Formal call for artists and farmers launched

FEBRUARY 2012

application processing and selection process

February 1 – deadline for applications to participate from artists and farmers

MARCH 2012

farm visits and art making begin!

Artist check in due within the first week.

March 1 - farmers and artists informed of matches

March 6 - Facebook group launched (for artists and farmers)

March 16 – confirmations due back from artist and farmers - partnership a go!

APRIL 2012

farm visits and art making

Artist check in due within the first week.

April 1 - partnering process complete

April 2 - Blaunch! (blog launch)

April 16 - Indi-GoGo video deadline (ready to go online)

MAY 2012

farm visits and art making

Artist check in due within the first week.

May 6 3pm - first artists’ meeting

May 7 - IndieGoGo Campaign launch

JUNE 2012

farm visits and art making

Artist check in due within the first week.

JULY 2012

farm visits and art making

Artist check in due within the first week.

Photo-documentation scheduled where needed.

July 1 - IndieGoGo end date?

July ? - second artists meeting

AUGUST 2012

farm visits and art making

Artist check in due within the first week.

Photo-documentation scheduled where needed.

August 1 - images (1-3) due for poster series, postcard and other promotional uses

August 15 - exhibition postcard to print (large format, all exhibits).

August 15 - DEADLINE for book material

SEPTEMBER 2012

farm visits, art making and preparation for exhibition at the Harlow Gallery

Artist check in due within the first week.

Photo-documentation scheduled where needed.

September 1 - exhibition posters to print

September 21, 22 & 23 - Common Ground Fair -- exhibition hall

OCTOBER 2012

farm visits and art making and preparation for exhibitions as assigned

Artist check in due within the first week.

October 13 - local foods celebration and fundraiser at Vaughan Homestead (this is also the date of Hallowell’s annual fall festival)

October 5-27, 2012

Harlow Gallery exhibition

All artists participate

October 5 (Friday) 5-8pm – opening Harlow Gallery exhibition

November 9 - December 1, 2012

Gallery at Sheepscot Market

ARTISTS: tba - Opening Friday, November 9 5-8pm

November 13, 2012 - February 5, 2013

Savory Maine Dining & Provisions

Artists:(these seven artists are working with their suppliers) Barnes, Noyes, Handmaker, Gulden, Engman, Kobik, Bickford

Opening Friday, November 16 3-5pm

Opening Friday Nov 16

January/February 2013

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery

January-February 2013

Frontier Cafe Gallery


Artist meetings

These were absolutely key in team building and helping the artists understand and feel comfortable with the project concept and expectations. Every situation was different, and it was helpful for the artists to share their experiences and challenges, and to see each other’s work develop. We had two mandatory meetings and gave the artists the option of meeting once more at the second meeting. By then they were all confident in their roles and chose not to meet again.

AGENDA FOR MEETING 1

We are very much looking forward to our meeting on Sunday, May 6 at 3pm here at the Harlow Gallery!!!

We'll have some desserts and snacks to share with you from Slates Bakery.

1 minute INTRODUCTIONS -- if you like, bring one work of art, in progress or finished, to share with your fellow artists.

the blogsite: csaart.org

Facebook group

IndieGoGo internet fundraiser

Print marketing: posters, postcard, book -documentary photographers

Common Ground Fair - September 21, 22 & 23

Local foods celebration and fundraiser - Saturday, October 13

The EXHIBITIONS!

Ideas, suggestions, feedback

Set date for next artist meeting in JULY.

AGENDA FOR MEETING 2

We are very much looking forward to our meeting on Sunday, July 8 at 3pm here at the Harlow Gallery!!!  We'll have some snacks and cool drinks available.  Also, you'll be happy to hear that we have air conditioning!

1 minute (re)introduction --

the blogsite: csaart.org - we need everyone to participate!

IndieGoGo internet fundraiser -- a report

Print marketing: posters, postcard, book -what we need and when we need it

Photodocumentation

Common Ground Fair - September 21, 22 & 23 -sign up for a prime shift!

Local foods celebration and fundraiser - Saturday, October 13 -save that date!

The EXHIBITIONS! -Harlow show October; three opportunities in November; two venues in January, so keep making work through harvest and beyond!

Ideas, suggestions, feedback

SHOW & TELL -- optional -  bring one or two works of art, in progress or finished, to share with your fellow artists.

Discussion -- should we have another artist meeting in AUGUST or SEPTEMBER?

First artist’s meeting - May 2012 at the Harlow Gallery

Facebook Group

We set up a Facebook group early on for use by the artist to share ideas, work and experiences. The group voted to keep this a closed group.  Farmers and steering committee members were welcome to participate. The Harlow Gallery staff also used it to informally share news and ask questions of the group. However, it was of limited use because not all of our artists were active on Facebook. But it’s free and easy to use!

Indiegogo Campaign

http://www.indiegogo.com/CSA-Community-Supporting-Arts

Our goal was $3,000 and we’d raised $2,515 by the time the campaign ended on July 2, 2012.  We had a cool video by Scott Minzy. But it was A LOT of work spreading the word during the campaign and coordinating the perks and thank you letters afterwards. We recommend you don’t bother and put your time into recruiting sponsors or writing grants.

Here’s a link to Scott’s video: http://vimeo.com/41372677


Photodocumentation

We wrote a successful grant application to the Maine Arts Commission to hire photographers to visit each farm and document our artists at work. The resulting images were used in the project book, video and for general marketing purposes.  We also shared the images with the respective farms so they could use them for their own marketing purposes.  We paid each photographer $80 per farm.  The steering committee highly recommends this practice; volunteer photographers also a possibility and what we would have done if we did not get the grant funding.

The images are available for public viewing online on Picasa:

Michael Ferry - Grassland Organic, artist Kate Barnes

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012GrasslandOrganicFarmArtistKateBarnes?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Michael Ferry - Fresh Start Farms, artist Emily Trenholm

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012FreshStartFarmsArtistEmilyTrenholm?authuser=0&feat=directlink

William Haley - Wholesome Holmstead, artists Jamie Ribisi-Braley & Kim Christensen

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArtsWholesomeHolmesteadArtistsJamieRibisiBraleyKimChristensen?authuser=0&feat=directlink

William Haley - Annabessacook Farm, artist Christine Higgins

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012AnnabessacookFarmArtistChristineHiggins?authuser=0&feat=directlink

William Haley - Morning Dew Farm, artist Tyler Gulden

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012MorningDewFarmArtistTylerGulden?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Justine Harrington - Treble Ridge Farm, artist Kris Engman

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012TrebleRidgeFarmArtistKrisEngman?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Kelsey Kobik - Milkweed Farm, artist Maina Handmaker

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012MilkweedFarmArtistMainaHandmaker?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Kelsey Kobik - Crescent Run Farm, artist Petrea Noyes

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012CrescentRunFarmArtistPetreaNoyes?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Nancy McGinnis - Winterberry Farm, artist Aleana Chaplin

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012WinterberryFarmArtistAleanaChaplin?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Allison McKeen - Long Meadow Farm, artist Scott Minzy

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012LongMeadowFarmArtistScottMinzy?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Allison McKeen - SNAFU Acres, artist Matt Demers

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArts2012SNAFUAcresArtistMattDemers?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Keith Spiro - Goranson Farm & Dig Deep Farm, artists Susan Bickford & Kelsey Kobik

https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArtsGoransonFarmDigDeepFarmArtistsKelseyKobikSusanBickford?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Project Videos

When the opportunity arose to bring in filmmaker Art Mayers Nancy Barron quickly signed on.  The film was especially wonderful for the steering committee members and Harlow staff to see. In the beginning of the project we had hopes of visiting each farm in person - but that did not happen. The video allowed all of us to see the project from other perspectives, and to learn of its impact on farmers and artists. It was very inspiring and affirming.  

Here is the short version (about 4 minutes) entitled CSA: Community Supporting Arts 2012 on YouTube, by Art Mayers with music by Nat Hussey:

 http://youtu.be/U-rr_JPU77M

Here is the full version (about 20 minutes), entitled CSA: Community Supporting Arts 2012 - Local art Local food on YouTube, by Art Mayers with music by Dave Mallet,  Nat Hussey, Narrow Gauge String Band, Bob Baldwin & Dave Pope.

http://youtu.be/zge-s0xJuTg


Marketing Samples

For Immediate Release -- September 17, 2012

[information on photographs attached: (many more available, please enquire about specific artists) "Bucket of Chicken" by Matt Demers, inspired by SNAFU Acres Farm in Whitefield; "Hussein's Greenhouse" by Emily Trenholm, inspired by Fresh Start Farms in Lisbon; "Apple Ladder" by Jamie Ribisi-Braley, inspired by Wholesome Holmstead in Winthrop]

For more information:  Nancy Barron or Deb Fahy at 207-622-3813, kvaa@harlowgallery.org, www.harlowgallery.org

Exhibition on View:  October 5-27, 2012 

Opening date: Friday, October 5, 2012, 5-8pm

Location: The Harlow Gallery, 160 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347

Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Saturday noon to 6pm

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Hallowell, Maine -- The work of 14 artists who have been partnered with central Maine farms since early spring will be on view at the Harlow Gallery at 160 Water Street in Hallowell through the month of October. The public is invited to meet both artists and farmers at an opening reception on Friday, October 5th from 5-8pm; light refreshments, created and grown locally, will be served.  The exhibition, entitled CSA: Community Supporting Arts, will be on view October 5-27.  This exhibition is being sponsored by Johnny's Selected Seeds and by Marie Giguere.

Participating artists are: Kate Barnes of Oakland , Susan Bickford of Newcastle, Aleana Chaplin of Gardiner, Kim Christensen of Albion, Matt Demers of Gardiner,   Kerstin Engman of Liberty, Tyler Gulden of Walpole, Christine Higgins of Readfield, Kelsey Kobik of  Portland , Scott Minzy of Pittston, Maina Handmaker of Brunswick, Petrea Noyes of Lincolnville, Jamie Ribisi-Braley of Manchester and Emily Trenholm of Portland.

In early spring 2012 the artists were partnered with Maine farms running CSA (community supported agriculture) programs. They have been visiting their farms regularly since March and creating art inspired by their farmers’ lives, work, landscapes, challenges and ideals ever since.  Our partnering farmers are all operating CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms in and around central Maine. In joining a CSA, folks make a financial commitment to their farm by investing in a share of the produce at the beginning of the growing season. In return farmers are committed to producing the freshest, most flavorful, high quality food possible for their members (most CSA farms adhere to organic standards as much as possible).  Typically each CSA member gets a weekly delivery of produce from early summer through harvest. Community Supported Agriculture is a grassroots response to the growing social and environmental problems of our modern industrial food system, and this local foods movement is transforming relationships between people, food and farms.  According to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association website, Maine’s CSA community includes over 160 farms with more than 6,500 families investing in their local food through the purchase of shares.  

CSA: Community Supporting Arts is a project of the Harlow Gallery and the Kennebec Valley Art Association in partnership with the Kennebec Local Food Initiative, an organization based in Gardiner, Maine that strives to strengthen community food security through access, education, information and advocacy.  CSA: Community Supporting Arts has been made possible by grant funding from the Maine Community Foundation, the Maine Arts Commission, the Davis Family Foundation and by donors to our online Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

 

CSA: Community Supporting Arts artist/farm partnerships are as follows. Visit the project blog site at http://csaart.org/ for more information on our artists and farms, and the project in general.

 

Kate Barnes of Oakland is partnered with Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan.

Susan Bickford of Newcastle and Kelsey Kobik of  Portland are partnered with Goranson Farm in Dresden, and Dig Deep Farm (in residence at Goranson Farm).

Aleana Chaplin of Gardiner is partnered with Winterberry Farm in Belgrade.

Kim Christensen of Albion and Jamie Ribisi-Braley of Manchester are partnered with Wholesome Holmstead in Winthrop.

Matt Demers of Gardiner is partnered with SNAFU Acres Farm in Monmouth.

Kerstin Engman of Liberty is partnered with Treble Ridge Farm in Whitefield.

Tyler Gulden of Walpole is partnered with Morning Dew Farm in Newcastle.

Christine Higgins of Readfield is partnered with Annabessacook Farm in Winthrop.

Scott Minzy of Pittston is partnered with Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner.

Maina Handmaker of Brunswick is partnered with Milkweed Farm in Brunswick.

Petrea Noyes of Lincolnville is partnered with Crescent Run Farm in Bremen.

Emily Trenholm of Portland is partnered with Fresh Start Farms in Lisbon.  

Other Event and Exhibition Dates for CSA: Community Supporting Arts:

Common Ground Fair — CSA: Community Supporting Arts will have a booth in the exhibition hall at the Common Ground Fair!  Stop by and meet some of our artists and farmers. September 21, 22 & 23, 2012.  FMI www.mofga.org/TheFair/

Local Food | Local Art Celebration on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at the Vaughan Homestead in Hallowell.  Scheduled to coincide with the Fall Festival of Art and History in Historic Hallowell (visit http://hallowell.org/ for details).  Join CSA: Community Supporting Agriculture organizers, artists and farmers as we celebrate the 2012 harvest together.  We’ll provide a local food feast with a giant potluck and dishes to taste by celebrity chefs. Enjoy live music, an art exhibition, a mini-farmers market and explore the grounds of the Vaughan Homestead.  

 

Common Street Arts in Waterville, on view November 3 – 30, 2012. Opening Saturday, November 3rd from 5-8pm. FMI http://commonstreetarts.com/ 

Sheepscot General in Whitefield, on view November 9 – December 1, 2012. Opening Friday, November 9th from 5-8pm. FMI   http://www.sheepscotgeneral.com/

Savory Maine Dining & Provisions in Damariscotta, on view November 13, 2012 – February 5, 2013. Opening on Friday, November 16 from 3-5pm. FMI  http://www.savorymainedining.com/

 

Crosstrax Neighborhood Deli in Unity, on view December 7, 2012 – January 26, 2013.  Opening on Friday, December 7, 4-6pm.  FMI http://crosstraxdeli.com/

 

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast, on view January 4 through February 2013. Opening on Friday, January 4th from 5-8pm.  FMI http://www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org/

 

Art Gallery at Frontier in Brunswick, on view January 11 – February 24, 2013.  Opening Friday, January 11th from 5-8pm. FMI  http://www.explorefrontier.com/gallery/current-exhibitions

Postcard for the exhibition series


Press & Blog Links

excerpt from article in ArtScope Magazine July/August 2012

“Kennebec’s Community Supporting Arts Project” by Taryn Plumb

“Farms have long been an influence for artists – from the 19th century French countryside to the thick-of-the-Depression American Midwest. And this summer, they’re once again serving as muse through a unique, months-long collaboration in central Maine. The Kennebec Valley Art Association in Hallowell and the Kennebec Local Food Initiative in Gardiner have paired 14 artists with 13 farms through a project called “CSA: Community Supporting Arts.” Over several months, local artists have been visiting partner farms (all of which have Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, programs) to take in everything — landscapes; buildings; caretakers; feathered, furred and four-legged inhabitants; crops bountiful or blighted; struggles and successes — with a goal to create a series of works by the end of the summer.”

Maine Home + Design, September 2012, page 23

“The Puzzle Obsession CSA: community supporting arts Harlow Gallery Opening Reception” (a short video on YouTube) http://youtu.be/Aqn3nAxv7a8

-- Published on Oct 7, 2012

While there were many exciting things happening at the Harlow Gallery on Oct 5, 2012 in conjunction with the Opening Reception for CSA: community supporting arts, the large jigsaw puzzle just wouldn't Let You Go. People kept returning to it all night and finally, an hour after the reception was supposed to end, the puzzle was completed. Much like the entire project, collaboration and community came together to help out in a passionate way. By KeithSpiroPhoto

October 21, 2012 in the Maine Sunday Telegram: Community rallies for art

“When a Hallowell gallery sounded the call for artists for its Community Supporting Arts (and agriculture) show, it turned into a veritable bucket brigade.” By BOB KEYES

“HALLOWELL – The folks who run the Harlow Gallery like to think big. They do their share of small exhibitions that go up and come down, with little fanfare. But now and again, they do something way beyond expectation.

That’s the case with the gallery’s latest project, “CSA: Community Supporting Arts.”

During this year’s growing season, the gallery paired 14 artists with 13 Maine farms that practice Community Supported Agriculture. The artists visited the farms regularly, often getting elbow-deep dirty and helping with chores.

Based on those experiences, the artists produced a huge body of work, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and videos. Some of that work is on view this month at the downtown Hallowell gallery.” … Click here to read the full article online at the Portland Press Herald

 

Photos by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer


Project Book

Our project book designed by Chris Cart of g-blue design is amazing!  We printed it online at MagCloud, which we highly recommend. Great quality and pricing is reasonable. You can print any quantity.

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/437556

Project t shirt

Designed by Chris Cart using a linoleum block print by Scott Minzy. We loved this shirt and ordered too many. T shirts are expensive - and then you have to sell them.  If it weren’t for the t shirts the project budget would have balanced by the end of the year. We were about $800 in the red at the end of December 2012.  That said, it’s a great keepsake and reminder for everyone who participated!


Common Ground Fair

Common Ground Fair — CSA: Community Supporting Arts had a booth in the exhibition hall at the Common Ground Fair! September 21, 22 & 23, 2012.  We even won a ribbon for most educational display. Woot!  FMI www.mofga.org/TheFair/

Volunteers Lisa Wheeler & Amy Tague

Local Food Celebration

Local food!  Local art! Prizes!  Music!  Mini farmers market! Historic setting!

The Harlow Gallery, the Kennebec Local Food Initiative and the Vaughan Homestead Foundation teamed up to present a celebration of local food, farms and art, including a local food feast and giant potluck on Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 4 to 7 pm at the Vaughan Homestead in Hallowell. The celebration marked the last months of CSA: Community Supporting Arts. Tickets were $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. Kids 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Attendees had to  bring a potluck dish to share created using local food.

This was great fun and lots of people asked us to do it again next.  If we were to do it again we’d

do it earlier in the day - because it got dark and COLD - or have an indoor space available (we had an event tent). More info on our website here: http://www.harlowgallery.org/wordpress1/?p=5987

 

Pictures on Picasa here: https://picasaweb.google.com/118393932458204505740/CSACommunitySupportingArtsLocalFoodCelebration?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Harlow Gallery Exhibition

“The work of 14 artists who have been partnered with central Maine farms since early spring will be on view at the Harlow Gallery through the month of October. The public is invited to meet both artists and farmers at an opening reception on Friday, October 5th from 5-8pm; light refreshments, created and grown locally, will be served.  CSA: Community Supporting Arts, will be on view October 5-27”

Installed by Michael Hudak

 Read more and view slide show on our website :  http://www.harlowgallery.org/wordpress1/?p=6064

Exhibition series

Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, October 5-27, 2012.

Common Street Arts in Waterville, on view November 3 – 30, 2012.

FMI http://commonstreetarts.com/ 

Sheepscot General in Whitefield, on view November 9 – December 1, 2012. Opening Friday, November 9th from 5-8pm.

FMI   http://www.sheepscotgeneral.com/

 

Savory Maine Dining & Provisions in Damariscotta, on view November 13, 2012 – February 5, 2013. Opening on Friday, November 16 from 3-5pm.

FMI  http://www.savorymainedining.com/

 

Crosstrax Neighborhood Deli in Unity, on view December 7, 2012 – January 26, 2013.  Opening on Friday, December 7, 4-6pm.  

FMI http://crosstraxdeli.com/

 

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast, on view January 4 through February 2013. Opening on Friday, January 4th from 5-8pm.  

FMI http://www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org/

 

The Hutchinson Center in Belfast, on view January 4 through February 2013. Opening on Friday, January 4th from 5-8pm.  

FMI http://www.hutchinsoncenter.umaine.edu/

 

Art Gallery at Frontier in Brunswick, on view January 11 – February 24, 2013.  Opening Friday, January 11th from 5-8pm.

FMI  http://www.explorefrontier.com/gallery/current-exhibitions 

 



Feedback, ideas and suggestions from the team

Jamie Ribisi-Braley, artist

What worked really well?

“Loved having a couple of in person meetings with the gallery and other artists.  Those meetings really helped connect to other artists and the farms that they are working on and also to inspire and ease our minds on where we were at.  I remember at the first meeting we all came in nervous that we wouldn't be as far along as other were since it took a while to flesh out what direction we wanted to go with our work.  At the end of the meeting, we all saw that we had similar experiences in the process and that we were all in a good spot.

I loved the blog portion because it was a really wonderful way to connect to what each artist was experiencing.  I love process and I love to learn what's behind a body of work, I think it really helped to connect people to the exhibit and get them excited for it!  From posting to the blog and really getting heavy into the facebook and social networking aspect of sharing the project, I found that people would mention it to me in person the minute I ran into them.  They would really connect and felt like they were a part of the journey that I was on.  but...... (brings me to the next item)”

 

What could we have done better?

“I really wish that other artists would have contributed more to the blog and facebooked more.  I know writing may not have been everyone's thing but even just a pictorial entry -- sharing some images of what they were working on, posting progress photos, studio shots, photos of the farm-- something. I know the gallery tried pushing it but only a few people really went through with it at a regular pace.  I think it would have been an important element in bringing more of each artist's network into the fold.  And maybe the farmers could have written something once in awhile, too (which is understandably harder given their hectic schedules).

I think the farmer's experiences where missing a little bit from the project.  I would have loved to have more of their stories shared in the book or in the blog.”

Please share any other suggestions, advice or ideas for someone planning to do a similar project.

“Have lots of room because you'll have SO much art and a huge amount of people at the opening!” -- Jamie

Mary Perry, Winterberry Farm

“It was a great experience and I would do it again and again and recommend it to any farmer.I would suggest getting MOFGA on board with your project. They are a valuable resource to both farmers and folks like you.”-- Mary

Sarah Miller, Steering Committee member

What worked really well?

“Concept- Having a book as one of the end results (more permanent than an exhibit)

Concept- Having multiple, satellite exhibits

Matching up farmers/artists with at least some acknowledgement of vicinity

Loved the selection process of farmers/artists/artwork (I mean, literally, the visual process of sticking stickers and regrouping, etc....but that's just me)

Having grant funds was a good idea.”

What could we have done better?

“Having a couple volunteers from beginning to end of the project that were specifically liaisons between the farmer/artist match-ups and the Harlow so that there was a point person to give and receive important messages so the rest of the Harlow crew could keep all the other projects going...” -- Sarah

Denis Thoet, Longmeadow Farm

What worked: 

“The concept was brilliant. The connections to the farms, artists and especially major funders was very well accomplished. The assemblage of an exciting exhibition was a major accomplishment, even more so since you are giving it a number of venues around the state. The connection to the community, emphasizing local food, was well done with your recent event at Vaughan Woods.”

 

What could we have done better: 

“This is a relatively short list. I would have liked to have seen more focus by the artists on the final product -- food in all its beauty from seedling to mature plant to harvest and then to the table. Structures and buildings are not a farm. The plants, animals, soil and landscape are. Press: the Sunday Telegram story was great, but the KJ was noticeably absent (unless I missed it) throughout the whole process of linking artists to farms, opening the exhibit, and covering the food event in Hallowell. Not your fault, it's theirs.”

 

Other suggestions, ideas and advice:

State clear goals for the project regarding food and community involvement, and perhaps provide a little more guidance to the artists regarding those goals. Make the local food event an inside event with tables and chairs, a stage, and a chance for you guys to get up and address the audience.”

 

“I, and our crew here, were very fortunate to have been able to participate in the whole program. Hope it happens again in whatever incarnation. Thank you!” -- Denis

Christine J. Higgins, artist

What worked really well?

Pairing farmers and artists has been an insured idea.  I would encourage any community, on any scale, to consider this combination.  Both groups have so much in common.”

What could we have done better?

I think that this was a very ambitious undertaking.”

Please share any other suggestions, advice or ideas for someone planning to do a similar project.

Two suggestions:

1.    Perhaps fewer communications venues.  I think less blogging.  I wanted to spend more time on the art work, less on writing.

2.    First show – consider a pre –curated digital selection first as I had no clue what to bring of all the work I had done.  Only the gallery had the sense of what different artists were creating.   After an  initial digital curating, then select from actual pieces and what works the best together.  * I guess I felt a little insecure about how my work would relate to the whole.  I think the final selections and how they were hung is fantastic.” -- Christine

Dalziel Lewis of Dig Deep Farm, participating farmer & steering committee member

What went well?

“-the questions asked to the farmers and the artists in the selection/pairing process of farms and artists

-the execution and community formed around the event in its first season

-the range of artist ages and abilities; thoughtful selection”

 

What advice would you give to another group doing a similar project?

“-to also promote CSA as Community Supported Agriculture or change the project to CSA&A: Community Supported Arts and Agriculture” -- Dalziel

Aleana Chaplin, artist

“I feel like the whole program went extremely well, it was a wonderful learning experience that we can share with so many others.  The only thing that I can think of that I found to be a little difficult was the many different ways of communicating.  With having emails, blog, and facebook, a few important deadlines slipped through the cracks and not everyone participated in all that we were to do  Maybe just have one spot that the artists are to post pics and write about the experience, and possibly have one person that uses that info to post on the other sites.” -- Aleana

Anne Trenholm, Wholesome Holmstead

“Personally, and from conversations with others, the engagement of artists was great. It appeared as though they are committed to the message of this program, which can be rare to form as a symbiotic relationship. That worked well. It probably worked well because Maine has a heritage of farmers who have more contact with the public than other areas (farm stands, PYO, truck farms, etc.). Maine's comparatively progressive in this area. This, coupled with a heritage of housing, supporting and growing, artists, was really beneficial to the overall theme. The initial audience was known (and certainly grew). I think that's what makes this project so meaningful to the venn diagram of local art, local food and those who like Maine.

 

On a more specific level, it was helpful to use this as a growth experiment in its development. The very nature of farming is change, and it was a forgiving structure to figure out what it means to create a helpful environment for artists to do their work, while simultaneously farming. Being proactive about needing flexibility was valuable, but also limiting that flexibility to the confines of a season was good too--it helps to plan. The meet-up was important too. I liked being able to read the blogs and tell our customers about it.

 

Landing gallery showings through the winter months is pretty cool, and it helps to get them nailed down before the initial opening--it makes it easier for us to promote as our face time with customers winds down significantly come late fall and winter.

 

The potluck timing was tough. I think it was important to coincide with 250 year celebration, but there were a couple other conflicting events in a 10 mile radius focused at the same demographic. (Swine and Stein would be an example.) This is a scheduling thing, where there's probably little control, but sometimes those things make a difference when it comes to planning events.

 

I think this type of project could be done with other business mediums too--it's scaleable. It could be gate to plate/field to fork CSAs, but it could also be about a genre of businesses. In fact, I think it would be cool to see this done for a genre of businesses. It's familiar, but different. It's a more intimate, sophisticated and genuine view of art and craftsmanship from two story tellers--in this case, the artist and the farmer--than current attempts (i.e., a TV show, reality TV, short film or news segment about how something's made and what life's "really like"). I think this medium leaves more room for interpretation, and opens a vein of appreciation about life. And, from a marketing perspective, the timing's right for such projects.

 

So, I wonder: could the same be done about other trades and those who live this life? Fiber production (e.g., wool growers and spinners)? Wood? ( i.e., from basket makers to Hammond Lumber, to Thos. Mosher). When I ponder this, I see it as an anthropological avenue to give the populous a real, interpretive experience that simply tells the story as it is. A broad stroke, with similar and dissimilar beginning and end points. It's not trite, and that makes it special. Point being, I suspect that if people (in general) are interested in viewing other people's lives, they're also just as interested in viewing the work of the artists who had a chance to intimately view and live the lives of the interesting people. Maybe this loses it's specificity, and simply turns into artists doing art about wood, fiber, farms...yet, the ingredients have always been there. There's always been art about farms. There's always been art about food--and food is sometimes art. There's always been portraits of communities. But it's the blend of a specific community, a goal to showcase two versions talents and crafts, and to limit it to a dozen relationships--to portray the finite--that probably makes this work. And, while it's baseline is finite, produces tactile, universal, resonating results. It's accessible art. It's exciting, and it's inclusive. Without our customers, there is not project, without our farm, there is no study for the artist. What this project demonstrates is what matters to people; it was a reminder of what always mattered to some, and made others consider why it does matter.” -- Anne


We checked in with our farmers in January 2013 to see how they benefited from the project:

“It was a WONDERFUL experience for us!  We did not gain any direct new CSA customers, but our current customers in the Augusta area were thrilled and commenting on how great the project was.  Additionally, I am certain that it exposed the concept of CSA to a greater audience, which is good for all farms who sell shares or direct at markets.” Thanks,Sarah

www.grasslandorganicfarm.com

41 Grassland Lane

Skowhegan, Maine 04976

“Too soon to have seen these benefits as were are just getting ready to start advertising for this season's CSA customers (still working on new prices, brochures, etc.).  The biggest benefit we've seen so far was that the project broadened our network and we were able to hire Kelsey Kobik to film a short documentary style film that we will launch in February for a Kickstarter project.  And she will be photographing our wedding!”  -- Ryan

“We just mailed our first solicitation letter for CSA members today -- to last year's members, and our webpage is now updated for 2013..I think there will be a beneficial effect from the increased visibility, but so far it's too soon to tell. I will keep you updated on any direct connections as they occur.” --Denis Thoet

Long Meadow Farm

29 Long Meadow Drive

West Gardiner, ME 04345

www.longmeadowfarmmaine.com


Credits

CSA:Community Supporting Arts was a project of the Kennebec Valley Art Association (KVAA) in 2012-2013. The KVAA is a 501(c) 3 membership based arts organization based in Hallowell, Maine. The KVAA owns and operated the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell since 1963.  Executive Director Deborah Fahy came up with the original idea.  Visit www.harlowgallery.org for more info.

CSA: Community Supporting Arts was produced in partnership with the Kennebec Local Food Initiative, an organization based in Gardiner, Maine that strives to strengthen community food security through access, education, information and advocacy. Special thanks to KLFI founder Sarah Miller.  Visit www.klfi.org for more info.

CSA: Community Supporting Arts has been made possible by grant funding from the Davis Family Foundation and the  Maine Community Foundation. CSA: Community Supporting Arts was funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; and by donors to our online Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

CSA: Community Supporting Arts by The Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, Maine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://harlowgallery.org/csa-community-supporting-arts/.