Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boston ARTchives: A Local Art Library

We received some nice feedback from the blog post we published yesterday (thanks blog readers!), and so today we are sharing another interesting resource with you. Here is a statement from local artist Dan Nolan about his newly launched business in Jamaica Plain. It's quite unique, and we think you'll find the concept as thrilling as we do...

"Artists contribute greatly to their communities yet struggle to survive in those communities. People value having artists around, but don’t have affordable access to the art. The current model of selling/sharing art has failed both parties. Meanwhile, the art sits on studio shelves.

"Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs create mutually beneficial relationships between consumers and local farmers. Farmers sell “shares” at the beginning of the season; consumers receive fresh local veggies throughout the season. They meet each other, foster a sense of community, and share risk – the fate of the farmer’s crops becomes the fate of the community’s produce. Tens of thousands of families have signed up and CSA popularity continues to rise. Fishermen and bakers have adapted the model to their trades, with great success.

"The last decade also brought the evolution of product-sharing models. Entrepreneurs used the internet to turn old archetypes of libraries, video stores, and car rental agencies, into new enterprises large (Netflix, Zipcar) and small (local tool banks). Product-sharing models make expensive items affordable.

"Boston ARTchives is a local art library that applies these models to art. It’s not quite a CSA because art isn’t seasonal or consumable and each piece is produced individually. But Boston ARTchives begins with the spirit of CSA (supporting local industry, fostering sense of community, sharing risk), and incorporates the efficiency of product-sharing models to create new streams of revenue for artists and new avenues of access for art appreciators. Artists pool their art together and lend it out to Boston ARTchives' subscribers. Each artist puts ten pieces into the library, yielding a large, diverse collection of art. Each subscriber pays a yearly fee for membership, yielding a new stream of revenue for the artists to split. Each subscriber gets to choose art from the collection to bring home with them for four months. After the four month lending term, they return the art to the collection, and take home new art. Subscribers also have the opportunity to buy the art in the collection. Boston ARTchives creates three new revenue streams for the artists: subscription fees, sales of their work, and sales of other artists‘ work. Subscribers make supporting local art a reality and enjoy a rotating exhibit of that art on their very own walls."

For more information on Boston ARTchives visit their website:

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