The program aims to encourage investment in the local arts while also bringing original art into people’s homes.
“I’ve always had the incorrect perception that collecting art is something you can’t do until you have more expendable income,” said Open Art Society member Katie DeGraff. “This just makes it incredibly affordable to have original art pieces in your house that can become cool conversation pieces.”
DeGraff and her husband moved to Durham seven years ago and have been trying to become involved in their community ever since. They started by supporting local farmers through community-supported agriculture programs.
“It’s really important for my husband and me to support local businesses,” she said. “This is another way to feel like we live here and to be involved in the community during the time that we are here.”
Members of Open Art Society will also be able to meet the artists at pick-up events that will happen twice over the fall season.
Artist J.R. Butler said the program is a great way to provide exposure for the artists and the community.
“I think that for so long there’s been a gap between the artist and the community,” he said. “Many people don’t feel as comfortable in the gallery.”
Despite the low cost for members, Butler still manages to earn a profit off of his work. Each artist is given a $1,000 stipend to produce 50 art pieces. They are responsible for planning their own expenditures.
“It actually increases my income pretty substantially because I don’t make a lot of money,” Butler said. “So this is a considerable amount of money for me to sell the art piece.”
Artist Heather Gordon said she spent $400 on materials and a local print studio where she can work on her projects.
“Money from my project goes back into the local creative economy,” Gordon said. “I get $600 for my time and for me to support this project.”
In addition to financial support, Gordon said CSA helps artists connect with the public and the collectors with the absence of galleries as the mediator.
She said galleries had the duty to connect artists with collectors, but there aren’t many galleries in the Triangle anymore.
“That’s why we need some way to create inroads into the community so people know what it is that we do and who we are as people,” Gordon said.
“That’s what art is supposed to do — to create connectivity in life that could help you find meaning with your community and with yourself.”