If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you might have heard about the cool new thing I've discovered called the Free Art movement. Several weeks ago I came across a local artist's IG account whose name I recognized from previous community events and saw he was leaving art around, for free, and posting photo clues in his feed. One day at lunch we drove past the local library based on one of his clues and sure enough! There was a piece, a textured painting on thick paper, waiting for us on a tiled library bench.
What a thrill! Seeing a clue and finding the buried treasure, it was like a secret little present left just for me. After discovering a few other artists in the area that do the same thing, I decided during CHD awareness week to hide a couple of pieces myself. Seeing the comments and gaining new Instafriends, fellow artists, was ten times cooler than the rush of seeing the excitement (as expressed through social media, that is) others had when finding my piece. Last weekend we went out again and hid a couple of my hand-painted stuffed toys at a local park. We got out, pushed the kids in their strollers, ate some ice cream. I met a fellow artist and his cute daughter along our hiding path who had driven out to the park after seeing my Insta-clues. I saw a few other people wandering around with their iPhones, possibly looking for the treasure I had buried. A friend of mine drove to the park to capture a piece too, and before I knew it, something extraordinary happened. This phenomenon of social media was uniting us, not digitally, but in the flesh. I was putting myself out there (even though my introverted nature made it hard for me to) and meeting new people, connecting to my community in a way I never have. More than just generating excitement over the art I was making, I was suddenly a part of something much bigger. Something much more beautiful. I wasn't just leaving free art around, I was contributing to a movement that's sole intent is to share beauty and love with others.
How can you do something like this in your area? It's easy! Leaving a lovingly-crafted piece somewhere for someone else to find it somewhere in your city is all you need to do! Ask the winner to post a photo & tag you, and label the post with the tag #freeartsmovement. Happy hiding!