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Bridge PAI: First Community Supported Arts Program in C'ville - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Bridge PAI: First Community Supported Arts Program in Charlottesville

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It's a way to enjoy art without the expense: A new program in Charlottesville aims to make unique masterpieces more accessible and affordable, while giving artists more recognition in the community.

The program is based on the Community Supported Agriculture model, where people pay a farm and then get produce later on. Members of the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative have just selected people for their first ever Community Supported Arts Program. They say it's the first of its kind in Virginia.

The art includes spoken word, embroidery, a book about native plants and animals, and sculptural pieces made from recycled material.

"The benefit to the artists is that they get some money, and that they get the chance to get their work out to other people, which is nice because artists are always trying to get their work out," said Bernart Hankins, an artist selected to participate in the CSA program. "I'm glad that, you know, artists are getting their stuff out there and I think most importantly I'm hoping that people will start to see the importance of art in their everyday life."

The program is competitive. Four out of 45 artists were selected.

To participate, people buy a "share" of artwork for $200. The money goes in part toward creating the work.

"So, it's nice because they give you some money and you can use that money to create the art, rather than working another job to then come make art, you can just make the art with some of the money they're giving you," Hankins said.

In December, people who buy-in get a box of art and other benefits, like invitations to performances. This time around, 50 shares are being sold, although many of them have already been purchased.

The program aims to bridge the gap between artists and people interested in buying art. The buyers become invested in the product by paying up front. They may get to meet or talk with the artist and get a sampling of art they might not otherwise buy or be able to afford. Hankins hopes more people will begin enjoying art and purchasing it on a regular basis.

"Inherently, I think buying art is a good thing to do because it's something that we all need, it's something that gives us all a reprieve from life," he said.

Click here for more information about the Community Supported Arts Program.

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