I want to tell you about Partage Montréal, an exciting project that I'm working on with a group of people who are passionate about the vibrant visual arts scene in our city.
You may already be familiar with the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a program that provides participating families with a box of fresh and locally grown produce on a weekly basis throughout the season. This model gives the subscribers quality vegetables freshly picked by a local, organic farmer and the confidence of knowing where their food comes from. It also provides farmers with funds in advance of the harvest season to buy seeds and pay themselves and their employees. The farmer is guaranteed that all of the crops will be sold and all parties benefit from high quality produce and being part of a commitment to good food. It’s a win win situation that nurtures a community of like-minded people while building relationships with farmers in the region.
Partage Montréal uses this CSA model but replaces the Agriculture with Art. We believe that artists need to be nurtured and that as art lovers we all benefit if we contribute to the work done by members of the city’s creative community. We are seeking to offer an easy introduction to the art world for the new collector, to support emerging and mid-career artists, and to build on the arts community in Montreal. Members of the Partage Montreal community will pay a set fee each season – like consumers of organic vegetables do in advance of receiving their produce – and will then receive original works from local artists, six items per season.
How do we do this? The Partage Montreal board – a group of art lovers with significant academic and practical art backgrounds – will select a professional curator for each season who, with her or his knowledge of Montreal’s art world, will choose six local artists to each produce a limited edition collection of their work. Subscribers will receive their ‘harvest’ of art in two deliveries, at Partage Montréal events where the entire community of curator, artists, and subscribers will have an opportunity to come together. The curator will also produce a statement that introduces the artists and describes her vision for the collection. The expertise of the curator adds great value to the process, as she and the artists together are the ‘farmers’ in this analogy.
Another way that Partage Montréal follows the model is by bringing surprise to the experience. Subscribers to an agricultural CSA know that they will receive vegetables, but they don't know exactly what kind will be in their box each week and often there is something that they’re not familiar with. Each season’s curator will select a group of artists to produce work in a style that is representative of their individual art practice. Subscribers to Partage Montréal know which artists they will be receiving art from, but no one will know exactly what the work will look like. One of the many benefits of Partage Montréal is this opportunity for discovery.
Variations on the Community Supported Art model have been used in a number of cities across North America with great success. Partage Montréal will provide a way to create long-term relationships between dynamic Montreal artists and enthusiastic collectors. We are very excited to bring this new model to our city.