Today I participated in Flood The Streets With Art. I had never heard of this before, but came across it when a good friend shared the Facebook event. I was immediately in! (Thanks Jeni) This initiative was started by Scott Wong, a Wisconsin artist who has been giving away free art every Friday for several years. Scott created a special event for Friday November 29th (Black Friday) through Facebook to encourage people to participate in this random act of kindness. Regardless of skill level or medium, everyone was encouraged to participate. By the time the date arrived over 2500 people had committed to leaving free art in a public place for a stranger to find, take home and enjoy.
Black Friday is a day characterized by mass consumerism and spending. Being Canadian, I don’t remember hearing too much about Black Friday over the years. It’s pretty much been an American thing. But…it seems it is more and more advertised these days north of the border. This year in particular, it seems like we have been bombarded with Black Friday sales. What a fun way to turn it around and leave something for free instead!
I made three small encaustic mixed media pieces to leave for someone to find in Ottawa. After work today I headed out. My first stop was at one of my favorite coffee shops – Bridgehead. I escaped the Ottawa cold, sat down with my cappuccino and realized it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. Well… it is a busy place and how was I going to just leave my painting and walk away without being noticed? I am not exactly known for my stealth and sneaky ways. At the far end of the room were some hooks on the wall (conveniently located on the way to the washrooms). Off I went …scooping my giveaway onto a hook as I ducked into the bathroom. My heart was pounding. I came back out…took a seat and realized not a soul had noticed. A young woman had sat down at a table directly underneath my deposit…intensely engaged in a phone conversation and oblivious to what dangled above her head. She ended her call and left. I sat for a few minutes more before realizing I was missing the point. This was not for me…not for the thrill of knowing what happens. Time to walk away…that’s when I really started having fun!
I hopped a bus and carried on to my next drop. I tied the next piece to the railing overlooking the Rideau Canal. Already emotionally adjusted to leaving it behind with no view as to what it’s fate would be, I glanced back to see a woman leaning over to read the attached note. I crossed the street… a bus pulled in front of me obstructing my view. By the time the bus passed the painting was gone! A mere 3 minutes had passed since I had tied it to the railing. Seconds later the woman ( in fabulous red boots!) passed me on the cross walk the painting swinging in her hand. Oh happy day!
Next I ducked into the mall to visit the LCBO for a nice bottle of red to take home for dinner. It was so crowded I didn’t think there was any way I could make a drop there. The line was so long I ended up at the back of it with no one behind me. I quickly dropped it on a shelf of Spanish wine, snapped a picture then pretended to be very interested in the label of the bottle in my hand. Within 3 seconds a staff member was calling out “Does this belong to anyone?” … a moment later (during which time I assume she was reading the tag that said it was free for her to take home) she cheerfully announced “It’s mine now”.
The only disappointing thing about this event is that I only had 3 pieces to drop. It was soooo much fun. I can’t wait to do it again next year! Wait a minute…there are a whole lot of Fridays between now and then. Why wait? Thanks Scott!