Where have I been? I just stumbled on this art movement that has been happening around the world for several years now. It’s called Free Art Friday. There are variations on the theme. It begins when artists create a painting, sketch, sculpture or installation and leave it in a public place. The piece can then be picked up by anyone who can keep it as their own. Finders are encouraged to use email, Facebook or Twitter to connect with the artist, post a photo and tell them how and where they found it. A quick internet search lead me to this blog connected to The Portsmouth Creative Movement in the UK. They say that My dog sighs has been doing this since 2006.
Sara Frey of Skidmore Studios in Detroit decided to start Free Art Friday in Detroit (FAFDet) after experiencing it in Atlanta. The Detroit version encourages artists to post a photo on their Facebook page and give clues, kind of like a scavenger hunt, to where it can be found. Frey is quoted saying that this type of fun initiative meshes with their studios vision to “promote creativity, celebrate art in all its forms and encourage people to explore the city.”
I was the happy recipient of free art once. Artist friends called it”Random Act of Art.” They would leave small pieces of art; greeting cards or artist trading cards, in public, as an act of gratitude. This Psychology Today article talks about it. What happened to me was slightly different. We were out of the country in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2009. We were staying in Bled, but made the trip to Ljubljana for the Sunday Flea Market. We had just parked the car and began walking along the river. The market runs between the Triple Bridge and Cobbler Bridge. It was a beautiful blue sky day and the market was bustling with buyers and sellers. I was headed for the first table, which I could see had some small religious statuary, framed paintings, books, jewelry and I was eager to see what else. This woman, about my age, intercepted me. I wasn’t sure what she was up to, but before I could say anything she handed me this tiny plastic package. Inside was this sweet embroidered heart. She spoke english, and said that she had decided to give a gift of art to a random person she encountered at the market. You would have thought I had been selected won the lottery. It was such a delightful experience, which was enhanced by a warm feeling of being welcomed as a stranger in my mother’s ancestral home.
Below are photos of me and the Free Art.
Having been a recipient, I’m trying to figure out how I can participate. Does this concept match my goals as an artist? So much of what I create is vulnerable to being broken.
I wonder, what do other artists think about this idea?