Abandoned art building communities

By Page H. Gifford

In small businesses around the county, you might see a piece of unframed artwork with a colorful tag that says “Hey you!…Yeah you. Pick me up you found FREE ART.” The viewer has the option of keeping it, passing it on or leaving it for someone else.

“Art Abandonment is a group of artists who leave their creations in random locations across the U.S, and worldwide  for others to find and enjoy,” said participating artist Sharon Argo. Argo’s work had been seen and taken at Cuppa Joe’s.

Argo said one piece of her free artwork was taken, passed on, and ended up with its final owner in Oakton, Virginia.

“The owner told me ‘I don’t buy this kind of art.’ He has it on his dresser,” she said. Argo’s work is unique, with bright colors, pen and ink drawings, and patterns. A fellow artist took one of her creations because it represented all the facets of her interests throughout life.

The group was founded by artist Michael DeMeng. DeMeng’s story centered on a sketch he did on a napkin and left on the table at an art workshop he was teaching in Eugene, Oregon. He left it for the next person to find, wondering what would become of it. The response to his picture was astonishing and his wife suggested he start a Facebook group to inspire others through art abandonment. Within a week of the group’s launch, there were more than 800 members. Today, they have nearly 30,000 members worldwide.

The group boasts of artists and finders sharing stories and pictures of beautiful art creations from jewelry, to pottery, paintings, and more. One artist left a stunning ceramic bowl at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop. Jewelry was found in a town in England and many other places where unsuspecting collectors find one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

One artist recently started a new endeavor called Honoring a Legacy, for which she creates pieces in memory of someone. She randomly chooses people and creates  something unique for them to honor the legacy of a lost loved one. A library sponsored a memorial using this idea to honor a young man who passed away. Many ideas have been generated from the original idea of abandoning art.

     This new art movement not only combines random acts of kindness but highlights the work of local artists. For the past few years, art has been moving away from its high-brow elitist past and into a new cultural realm where everyone can enjoy art and in turn, gives the artist a creative purpose. It also builds art communities and connects people in ways they never imagined before.

To find out more about Art Abandonment visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/artabandonment#iffoundartwork.

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