Call for Proposals: Springboard’s Community Supported Art

Community Supported Art is back!

This winter, Springboard for the Arts will be offering its first Community Supported Art (CSA) project in five years. With a new mail-based subscription format, CSA will bring artwork, prints and DIY projects directly into the homes of shareholders this winter through the United States Postal Service.

Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy seasonal food directly from local farms. With the same buy-local spirit in mind, Community Supported Art is a similar endeavor to support local art, artists and collectors. 

The Community Supported Art project was created by Springboard for the Arts and mnartists.org in Minnesota in 2011. Since then, CSA has been replicated in dozens of cities in North America over the past ten years. In the past five years, we’ve been focused on working with programs all over the U.S. In 2020, in the context of a pandemic that keeps us home more than before and has many artists underemployed, we are once again seeking artists, crafters, designers, performers, musicians and Minnesotans working in all artistic disciplines, for another season of our own Community Supported Art (CSA) program with the themes of comfortcare and craft

Call for Proposals

Deadline extended! Proposals are now due October 23.

Here are the basics of how the CSA program works:

Selected artists will create or produce 50 pieces of artwork for each “share” in the program. This year, fifty shareholders will receive nine pieces of artwork from nine artists, shipped via the United States Postal Service. Shareholders will receive packages three times this winter. Each shipment will come in a custom-designed package, created specifically for the artwork.

Artists will receive a stipend of $1,000 for creating, executing or manufacturing their proposals.

This year, we are taking proposals for work in three separate categories:

COMFORT | Gifts

Items that can be mailed, shipped, gifted or reused by the recipient to friends, family or neighbors. These items can be sent via USPS, left in public spaces, wheat-pasted to a wall or otherwise shipped to someone. It might be personalizable, or it might not be. Proposals in this category could be letterpress postcards, posters with appeals to the neighborhood, a ceramic mug with special packaging, or anything else that could be safely conveyed to a recipient. These will be delivered in December.

CARE | Projects

Beautifully designed, interactive artist-designed kits, lesson plans, group projects, blueprints, step-by-step guides, DIY activities, instructional booklets or activities that can be independently completed or replicated at home or outdoors. These will be delivered in January.

CRAFT | Artworks 

Functional items or artworks that can be hung, framed, set on a table, used at home or work, or otherwise enjoyed by the shareholder. Proposals in this category could be a print, a small painting, a ceramic tumbler, a sculpture, a toy, textile, book art or some other weird or wonderful thing we haven’t thought of yet. If it can be mailed, it’s in. These will be delivered in February.

Proposal Requirements:

+ Proposals must be designated for one of the three categories. Artists may make proposals for multiple categories, but an artist can only be chosen for one category.

+ Each individual piece in an edition of 50 must be no more than 12” length x 12” width x 6” height, and weigh less than 2 lbs.

+ Each individual finished piece must have its own individual, protective packaging (even as simple as a sleeve for a work on paper). The packaging should be protective, but it doesn’t need to be completely mail-ready. Mostly, it should look good! The work will be packaged again within the larger package for mailing safely. 

+ Any proposals for activities in the Projects category must meet physical distancing guidelines.

+ Artist or artist team must be able to design and produce the finished pieces, or arrange to have the production done within the timeline. The stipend award is intended to assist with the production costs of the pieces.

+ Collaborations between artists or work by collectives are also welcome.

Selection Criteria:

Three projects in each of the three categories will be chosen. Projects will be evaluated based on: feasibility, originality, artists’ record of executing similarly scaled projects, and ability to be enjoyed using physical distance guidelines. This includes:

+ Quality of artist’s past work as demonstrated in the submitted materials.

+ Indication that artist has expertise (art-related or other) to undertake project or can demonstrate a plan for accessing fabrication, printing, manufacturing or expertise to successfully complete project. 

Two-thirds of the selected projects will be from artists and culture bearers who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and/or Native, artists from disability communities, LGBTQIA+ artists, and/or artists from outside the eleven-county metro. All applicants must be residents of Minnesota and over the age of 18.

To apply

Applications will open Monday, September 21 on this page. We will accept applications through Friday, October 23. (Extended from October 16.) Artists will be notified at the end of October, and the first projects will be due in December. 

Applicants will be required to submit:

+ Brief artist statement or video (500 words or 3 minutes)

+ Proposal for project (500 words), specifying which category, with optional sketches or mockups

+ Resume and/or link to a website or Instagram page

+ 3-5 samples of your current work in JPG format, as a PDF, or links to a YouTube, Vimeo, Bandcamp or Soundcloud page with work samples in addition to JPG work samples.

For questions regarding the program or application process contact Andy at andy@springboardforthearts.org

Watch a 30-minute information video here.