In the beginning in January, an artist I follow and admire on IG, Courtney Senior, shared an idea, really an initiative, to bring some joy to strangers lives on a date that is a sad one for her. The idea, leave pieces of artwork in random places in your local area for strangers to find, on the date she lost her father to Cancer.
As someone who has recently lost two family members to cancer in an 11 month period, I was in. I thought the idea of "art and found" was always so great, as I have seen her and other artist do it in the past. I always wanted to do it, but this finally got me off my couch and involved in it.
But what made March 12th even more incredible is that Courtney got a total of 354 artists across 31 countries to participate. Some of us created multiple pieces, others just one. Personally, I created two specifically for this special day.
I thought about wrapping up art that I already had done, but I wanted the art for this day to be special and new. Two to remember the two family members who were recently lost to short battles with cancer. And with the beautiful weather I knew we were suppose to be having that day, I felt it was only appropriate to create two abstract florals; "Spring Awakening - I" and " Spring Awakening - II"
They were made with spray paint, molding paste, acrylics, and varnish. They were fun and light, and were made with love. Next comes the packaging!
Since Courtney has done this before around Toronto, she new how to set up the artwork to get people's attention, so I just followed her directions, so these two lovelies found forever homes!
I added a personal note, a postcard, business card, made a large sign letting people passing by this was a free piece of art, as well a cut out from Courtney explaining the day itself.
My first stop was Patchogue, NY. A place my husband and I love to go for lunch, when Covid isn't being Covid! I drove around for probably 20 minutes to figure out where to place the piece. See, Patchogue doesn't have a lot of seating, and I'm not as mobile as I used to be. BUT just as I was about to give up, I found a parking spot across the street from one of my favorite places to eat, "Buttermilk", and they had open seats outside!!!
So I popped out of my car, and wobbled across the street, (shout out to the two drivers who were very sweet and let me cross the street when they had the green light!) and quickly placed my first piece down. Snapped a picture and got myself back to my car as fast as possible to see if I could see who would pick it up.
The first 7 or 8 people walked by, some people looked at it, some people didn't notice it, which I thought was odd. I even texted my husband how frustrating it was. "Who wouldn't want free art!?" and "Why are New Yorkers so worried about taking free things?!" He got a kick out of me. But after 10 minutes or so, it all made sense. Why you ask? Because the person in the world who really needed it, was the person who found it.
I mean, it doesn't get much better than that! But I still had one more stop to make, Port Jefferson! Luckily, I know all the benches in Port Jefferson, as I am very familiar with everything down Port, as it is where I got married almost 8 years ago, and where I spent most of my 20's.
I decided to get myself a blueberry iced tea at the ice cream shop, then walked myself across the parking lot to the two benches at the corner of by the ferry. I waited for it to be slightly quiet so I could put the painting down and get a photo of it. Then I sat on the other bench to see if anyone would take it. Also, it was a GORGOUS day on Long Island yesterday!
But as soon as I sat down on the other bench, a family walked by, and the father noticed my art. "Free art! That's pretty cool!" He then picked it up, and gave it to his young daughter, who was probably around 4 years old. "Look honey, we FOUND art! Isn't that so cool?!"
To me that was the coolest thing I have ever experienced. I sat for a few more minutes then headed back to my car.
Later that day the father found me on IG to let me know they had found the art, not knowing I was the person on the other bench! hahahaha
Being apart of International Art and Found Day was such a positive experience in such a weird time. I definitely think I will be doing this more, now that the weather is warming up. I'm going to try to do it once a month, just leave a piece of art somewhere on Long Island for someone to find to brighten there day. You never know what people are going through so why not brighten their day with a little something!
If you want to learn more about Courtney Senior, click here
If you want to learn more about International Art and Found day, click here