Current Studio rethinks traditional sales models with its subscriber-based Art of the Month Club

Sculptures by John Wolfe submitted for Current Studio’s Art of the Month Club (Current Studio / provided)

Sculptures by John Wolfe submitted for Current Studio’s Art of the Month Club (Current Studio / provided)

Artists everywhere are going postal, and the Oklahoma City metro area is no exception. Current Studio, located in the Classen Ten Penn neighborhood, has offered Art of the Month Club (AOTM) since May. The subscription service sends original art pieces to the doorsteps of established and aspiring art patrons.

Subscriptions are $255 for three months ($85 per month), $480 for six months ($80 per month) and $900 for 12 months ($75 per month). Beginning March 9, one-month subscriptions will be $100.

Talented local artists from a wide spectrum of mediums — including Erin Shaw, Eyakem Gulilat, Kalee Jones W., John Wolfe, Margaret Kinkeade, William R. Struby, Lori Oden, Sunni Mercer, Sarah Atlee, Zachary Burns and Marissa Raglin — have participated.

 

Photography by Lori Oden submitted for Current Studio’s Art of the Month Club (Current Studio / provided)

Photography by Lori Oden submitted for Current Studio’s Art of the Month Club (Current Studio / provided)

Studios from Philadelphia to San Francisco have implemented similar monthly deals. Current Studio co-curator Romy Owens said the local club was inspired by a Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma study that suggested such a model as a way to increase artist sustainability in the area.

The program is a creative new way to help artists earn a living income with their work, but subscribers looking for an affordable way to bolster their collections are also beneficiaries.

Building a deep, diverse art collection can be an expensive and intimidating task, especially for young or inexperienced collectors. AOTM lets those enthusiasts add works from artists who usually don’t produce pieces for sale under $100.

“We really want to encourage people to broaden their appreciation for art,” Owens said. “Finding ways to support our local artist community is very important to us. AOTM is one of the ways in which we hope to make Current Studio sustainable long-term.”

Current Studio is not asking participating artists to discount existing works. Instead, artists create a batch of originals compatible to the price.

 

A quilt by Sarah Atlee submitted for Current Studio’s Art of the Month Club (Current Studio / provided)

A quilt by Sarah Atlee submitted for Current Studio’s Art of the Month Club (Current Studio / provided)

Current Studio has been selecting individual artists to participate in the program. Organizers hope to eventually shift to a submission process, but not until they have the time to do it right.

“There is no shortage of amazing and talented artists to select from,” Owens said, “but for our subscribers, we want to make sure we are presenting them with art that isn’t readily available at the price point a subscription costs.”

Current Studio announces new participating artists about a month before their new work is delivered to about 100 subscribers. The limited base creates exclusivity for patrons while keeping the creation goal attainable for participating artists. Over time, the 100-subscriber cap might be expanded.

Owens said community response has been enthusiastic, though people have been slower to sign up. Owens said this is probably due to strained budgets and lack of awareness or understanding of
the program.

If the club reaches its subscriber potential, it could go a long way in supporting the needs of several working artists. Owens estimates that if the club was fully subscribed, AOTM would be investing $90,000 into the local art community each year and putting 1,200 pieces of art into local homes and businesses annually.

“The club is part of a larger mission to find new ways and models for artists to make a living,” she said. “If we had all of our subscriptions claimed, we would be writing a $5,000 check to a different artist each month. That is a game-changer for a lot of artists.”

AOTM currently has openings available for new subscribers. Visit currentstudio.org.

 

Print headline: Special delivery, Current Studio’s Art of the Month Club rethinks art patronage.

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