Antonio Serna, 2016

The phase of the lifecycle of any project that we refer to as “acquire” considers the storage, maintenance, and stewardship of your projects. You might dream that your project will be acquired by an elite institution with the resources to care for it for a hundred years or more. But in all likelihood, every project will either live and travel with you for your whole life, live with friends or family members, or be discarded. Even if your work is acquired by an elite institution, they cannot acquire all of your projects and they will not acquire them immediately after they are made. Your projects will be with you for years, or forever. We ask: What would happen if you made projects with yourself or your community as the desired stewards or acquirers of the project?

Artist Antonio Serna created artCommon as a way for a community to acquire projects locally, for their neighborhood, and then circulate the projects from home to home. Serna said in our interview with him, “There’s [often] not a connection between artists and the communities they live in while making art. So I thought, well, there’s a surplus there [of artworks]. Why not open it up and get those works in circulation? Serna states that after art is added to a local artCommon, “the community is then free to borrow the art in the artCommon. The artCommon is collectively managed by all participants in the community. From this collective effort new relationships are made within the community on an individual and collective level.” The first version of artCommon was piloted in Jackson Heights and was included in the Queens International 2013 at the Queens Museum in New York City. Serna is excited by the idea that someone reading this book would start an artCommon in their neighborhood. If you want to do so, contact Antonio Serna. Serna embodies the capacity that we call “Understand (Art) Community,” defined as the ability to be “reliably able to interact as an artist with other artists (i.e., in classrooms, in local art organizations, and across the art field) and within the broader society.” Serna hopes that artists will connect to their neighborhood, so that the capacity of “understanding art community” includes place, neighbors, and geography. See Chapter 6: How Are You in the World and How Is the World in You? and Chapter 15: Encounter for more.

Download the full chapter: Acquire as a PDF

Download Teacher/Facilitator Guides

  1. Future Project: Acquire (worksheet)
  2. Past Project: Acquire (worksheet)
  3. Historical Consciousness (worksheet)
  4. The Things We Steward (activity)
  5. Acquisition Agreement (activity)
  6. Artist Resale Right Agreement (activity)
  7. Gift a Project to Someone in the Group (assignment)