Friday, May 24, 2024

Aisha Cruse, Art Cycle coordinator, says through this month she’ll be promoting the Community Supported Art program exhibit up through Aug. 31 at 42 Brattle St. in Harvard Square. (Photo: Athena Yeung)

In Community Supported Agriculture systems, members of the community buy shares in a farmer’s crop and get goods from a harvest. The new Community Supported Art program works the same way: Anyone can buy a share at $300 and get nine pieces of art each year.

It’s been a bumper crop.

A hint of that can be seen for a little less than two weeks — until Aug. 31 — at an exhibit of the artists in the CSArt program at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 42 Brattle St. in Harvard Square. The center is also allowing people to sign up for the chance to be art recipients in the next round of the program.

Susan Hartnett, director of the co-sponsoring CCAE and one of the share-buyers, said more than 600 local artists expressed interest during the planning of the program. She, along with members and administrators at the center, narrowed down the list and started calling candidates they thought best suited for it. Finally they had nine artists, from their early 20s to over 65 years old, all from Somerville and Cambridge. (CSArt is run in collaboration with the Cambridge and Somerville arts councils, Cambridge Local First and Somerville Local First.)

A May 22 reception meant to promote the program, let people from the community meet with artists and attract buyers for the art shares, was similarly successful: The shares were sold out by the July 5 beginning of the exhibit by artists participating in CSArt.

The idea, originated in Minneapolis, will culminate in three fall Harvest Parties where buyers meet up again with the artists and pick up the work they paid for in shares. The buyers do not know what they will be getting.

“They are all different,” said Hartnett of the type of artwork the artists do. “Prints, sculptures, woodcuts …” Since artists are expected to finish 50 artworks within a given time, Hartnett noted that CSArt would be easier for artists who focus on prints; it’s less time-consuming. And the workload can be particularly challenging for part-time artists, which most of them are.

“I was lucky when I was asked to do the program. I have 20 sculptures already made,” said Kate Martens, a teacher and one of the participating artists. She loves sculpting and applied for the program after hearing about it from a friend.

The nine artists work independently, but met when the exhibit opened, Martens said.

CSArt “is an amazing program,” she said, and it was great for her to meet artists doing different kinds of work.

People walking down Brattle Street might see a big yellow bicycle outside the center. Since it promotes events there, until the end of this month it will be promoting CSArt.

“I try to ride this [bicycle] to as many local events as possible,” said Aisha Cruse, the Art Cycle coordinator. In the past month, she has arrived on it to numerous farmers markets, special events and festivals around Cambridge and Somerville to promote the program.

Cruse said that a round two of the program will start as soon as next spring after committee members evaluate round one’s success. “We really want to make it go on,” Cruse said of CSArt. “Not just [be] a one-time thing.”