This Friday, artists, culture junkies, and random passers-by will go in search of priceless treasure. Well, it's priceless because it's free. Each final day of the work week, people around the world are joining Free Art Friday, a movement in which art is left in public places for people to take -- no conditions or sales, just free pieces.
With chapters in Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Serbia, UK, and all over the U.S., Miami has now joined the ranks. Free Art Friday seeks to unite artists and districts with its city-wide art scavenger hunt. The premise is simple: Artists hide their own works of art around the city, and the first person to find it can take it home for free.
"It happens on a larger scale every Friday, we just don't really know about it," Registered Artist, founder of the Miami chapter, said of the growing community project. After befriending some of the original founding artists of FAF through Facebook, Artist realized that although other places recognize Miami as an artistic destination because of Art Basel and the hype surrounding Wynwood, people from different parts of the world have no concrete visual representation of the Miami artist as an individual. He was encouraged by these newfound friends to initiate a local FAF, which would also be recognized by other chapters.
After approaching a number of local artists to contribute their own works of art for free, he was met with mixed reactions. But those who responded positively helped establish FAF into a proactive, weekly event. Although still in a fledgling state, the group's Facebook page has reached more than 700 members in only a few months' time and gained sponsorship from an Artist & Craftsman Supply. Some of the artists who initially balked at the idea have even come around to participate.
Ivan Roque, a resident artist at Yo Space, has been dropping off work consistently since the beginning. "It really does bring the art to the people and could completely change the outlook of their day...it brings culture and a better understanding of the arts to the city and its people," Roque said of his reasons for involvement. As an extension of FAF, he gives away some of his pieces at Yo Miami's Average Joe Sale.
WHUT, another participating artist, said, "It's a great way to meet people and expose art to people that maybe never had a chance, or the money, to own a piece of original art."
Artist, Sogeth Grimely, began leaving art out about two months ago, "I like the idea of someone enjoying my pieces, and it gives me purpose to create something every week."
Each of them adheres to the participation guidelines: Make a work of art that you're willing to part with for free. Leave your information. Leave the group's information; the site has a printable QR code, or artists can include the Facebook page URL. Put your free art somewhere, either hidden or in plain view. Then post clues on the Facebook page to help other participants find your work.
Users who take home the free, found pieces are encouraged to post their art finds on the Facebook group and "share" it, which is comforting for artists who want to see where and with whom their creations ended up.
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Artist is hoping to broaden the scope of the art scene by engaging artists of all sorts citywide. He encourages photographers and poets to join too; Amy Arce has done a series of poems in a bottle. Although most of the drops happen in Wynwood, there are artists participating in Hialeah, Pinecrest, and West Kendall. As an attempt to connect chapters and disperse Miami art around the world, Artist is currently organizing a trade between artists here, in Scotland, and Trinidad. "It's a lot of money, gas, time, effort, art supplies; but it's fun," he said.
Free Art Fridays is something to look forward to at the end of this week, so try and get out and searching -- otherwise, you might miss out on finding one of Diana Contreras's "Grumpy Cat" series.
Join Free Art Fridays on Facebook to keep up with other artists, clues for the next hunt, and who found what. Participating artists who mention FAF receive a 10 percent discount on their entire purchase at Artist & Craftsman Supply, 701 NW 27th Ave., Miami. Call 305-817-5455.