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The Right to Experience Art
Across the country, community supported farms are becoming sources of fresh, local food for people who buy a "share" of a farm and receive vegetables, fruits and dairy products in return. Now, art activists are adopting this model to create "community supported art."
Laura Zabel is the executive director of Springboard for the Arts, an economic development agency for artists. In Minnesota, Springboard has begun a program where 50 community members buy "shares" in the work of nine local artists. Over the course of a summer, these community members will each receive nine original works from these artists.
At the Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday, Zabel joined Theaster Gates in a discussion focused on the theme "all art is local."
"The art is wonderful and it's always beautiful, but the purpose of the program is to build tight relationships between artists and the community," said Zabel. "We found this incredible audience for this project of people who care about their local economy and community but aren't necessarily from the art community."
Gates is an artist and "cultural planner" who is also doing work in America and Europe aimed at bringing art to people and places otherwise ignored by artistic institutions. By converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces, Gates is expanding common notions about where art can and should occur, in addition to redeveloping neighborhoods that suffer from a lack of resources and economic investment.
"My art practice makes room for the possibility for redevelopment," said Gates. "People everywhere deserve the right to experience culture and experience it locally in their neighborhoods, no matter where those neighborhoods are."