"Very Good" by Michelle Weinberg, part of LegalArt's CSA offerings
"Very Good" by Michelle Weinberg, part of LegalArt's CSA offerings

LegalArt Launches "Community Supported Art"

If you're a foodie, you've likely heard of CSAs. Standing for "community supported agriculture," it's the handy acronym given to programs that sell shares of farms' crops directly to consumers, putting farmers in closer contact with their customers in the process. Espousing a "think globally, eat locally" philosophy, CSAs help diners reduce their carbon footprints while supporting local economies and promoting fresh produce.

Supporting the local scene and promoting fresh art, on the other hand, is part of LegalArt's mission here in Miami. So it only makes sense that the group's latest initiative borrows heavily from the CSA trend.

Shares of LegalArt's Community Supported Art go on sale in just a few weeks, and according to program coordinator Dominique Breard, the lucky few who snatch up their shares early will truly be feeding their heads.

"You get nine pieces of art," Breard explains. "Everyone knows who the artists are, but there is a little surprise factor of what you're actually going to get."

The program works like this: The nine artists who've been chosen by LegalArt's panel of "art and food luminaries," as Breard describes them, produce 50 pieces of art each. Those works are boxed and offered as shares of the program's overall output. LegalArt's CSA members (those who've purchased one of the 50 shares offered) will receive three "crops," one per month from February to April. Each crop contains three pieces of art, one per local artist.

"They're not specifically themed towards food," Breard explains, "and the work has to have a specific dimension to fit into the boxes. They're small works." (The CSA's delivery boxes measure 12"x12"x12".) "Each has a mix of art -- photography, objects, drawings, paintings, a lot of different mediums. There'll be something three-dimensional in each one of them."

The works themselves are meant to be a surprise, but Breard offered us a sneak peek at the first CSA shipment. "Michelle Weinberg is doing a handmade cement encaustic tile that says 'very good.' Kerry McLaney is doing a series of photographs of landscapes of Haiti. They're very different than what you'd usually expect from landscapes of Haiti; she's originally from Haiti, and the landscapes are of mountains and natural areas."

A selection from Kerry McLaney's series of photos, Beyond the Mountain, More Mountains
A selection from Kerry McLaney's series of photos, Beyond the Mountain, More Mountains

And though the art itself doesn't necessarily have to do with food, at least one of the artists is taking his inspiration from his tastebuds. "Jason Hedges is doing prints of locally caught fish. He's a big fisherman as well as an artist. He catches local fish, and before he cooks them and eats them, he puts ink on one side of them and stamps them on sheets. So it's different prints of all locally caught fish."

The CSA experience doesn't stop there. Members will pick up their shares of art at special distribution events all over Miami, which will also serve as meet-and-greets with the artists. And when they peek inside their box, they'll also find surprise "bumper crops" -- extra pieces of art, or coupons and promotions from the local community.

But there is one drawback to LegalArt's CSA program: It's limited to only 50 shares. Breard says that based on the responses that Minnesota's Springboard for the Arts' community supported art program has experienced, shares will go fast. "Springboard warned us that its shares sold out within 10 minutes," she says. "This is our first time, so I don't know if we'll run out in 10 minutes, but it's sure to be very fast."

LegalArt's CSA shares go on sale at its website January 18 at 11 a.m.

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