Angelica Contreras, a mixed-media artist with a full-time job as a bilingual resource specialist,  recently worked afternoons, evenings and weekends creating 61 small paintings — mixed-media, wash and acrylic paintings on paper, depicting Day of the Dead dolls with Japanese influences. But unlike many working artists, she had already been paid for her labor.

Contreras is one of 10 artists participating in Arts + Literature Laboratory’s innovative CSArt program, modeled on community-supported agriculture (CSA).

“CSArt is a good way for the community to learn about other kinds of artists who aren’t necessarily in the art fair circuit,” says Contreras, who moved here three years ago from Guadalajara, Mexico, after earning degrees in art and art education in her native city. She is part of the Latinx art collective Sinopsis, and has participated in the Latino Art Fair at Overture and Dane Arts Buy Local. She believes artists need more opportunities to connect with buyers. “Because there’s so few galleries in Madison, I feel like we need more spaces,” says Contreras.

In a city with loads of artists but little creative commerce, Art Lit Lab’s three-year-old art share program is hitting its stride. The space on Winnebago Street is hosting Fresh III, an exhibit of works from participating artists, through June 29.

A selection committee chose 10 Dane County artists to contribute 61 small works — 50 for shares, one for each artist and one for an archive — and receive a $1,500 stipend. Shares in the art CSA yield 10 pieces of art for shareholders, five for a half-share. Shareholders can pick up their art at a June 29 reception.

[The 2019 CSArt Madison artists are: Professor of Printmaking Emily Arthur, Eric Baillies, Angelica Contreras, Richard Jones, Jennifer Leaver, Maeve Leslie MFA ’21, Emma Lister, Victoria Maidhof, Richie Morales, and Faculty Associate Michael Velliquette.]

Read more at the Isthmus