We all know about Casual Friday, Black Friday, TGI Friday – but Free Art Friday? Who knew? Yes, there is a day that regular folks can acquire a piece of artwork for FREE. No strings attached. No commitments.
Jessica Ramey, founder of the local, non-profit DIY Studio and well known for her free community craft nights in partnership with Culture Shock Community Project, was awe-inspired when she heard about the international, grassroots movement that started in the UK in 2006.
After watching a video of My Dog Sighs, the originator of Free Art Friday, create artwork on found objects such as metal cans that had been diverted from the solid waste stream (basically, found on the street) and then returned to the streets for people to find, Ramey realized that this needed to be the next project for DIY Studio and brought Free Art Friday, or FAF, to our community in February. Currently, it is the only FAF group in Oregon.
The FAF concept is simple – an artist creates a piece of art and leaves it somewhere in the community for a passer-by to find.
For the finder, whether an unwitting pedestrian on a lunch break or a treasure hunter acutely aware of Salem’s new kind of “street art,” all that is required: passer-by must be aware enough to notice the artwork; curious enough to examine it; bold enough to keep it; appreciate it enough to give it a good home. Although encouraged, but not required, to let the artist know that their art found a home.
Through word of mouth and Facebook, FAF Salem has started small and is gaining momentum. Ramey says that last week, eight pieces were distributed and expects more this Friday “…we’ve heard that an art teacher from South High will distribute artwork with her students as well as a group of professors from Chemeketa.”
Now that you know there is FREE art out there every Friday just waiting for you to find and cherish, what do you do? Prepare yourself! Hone your skills – begin looking at your surroundings with purpose, try finding art in the everyday world (but only take the free stuff). Appreciate what inspires you – when you find something that moves you, acknowledge it (this can be as simple as thinking, “Wow. That’s neat.”). When Friday comes, you’ll be ready to wander the streets and your newly honed ninja-like art appreciation skills will surely give you an edge. If you want to leave your FAF findings to fate or luck, that’s just fine, but if you want a little help, you can go to the FAF Facebook page for clues. And, remember what they say, “Finders keepers, everyone else can try again next week.”