SAINT PAUL, Minn. - A free art phenomenon that is moving across the globe has found its way to the Twin Cities. It is the Free Art Fridays movement, in which artists hide pieces of art to be found by ordinary people and taken home.
The concept is simple, but it found its germination in social media frenzy. Using Facebook and Twitter, the adhoc group's administrators post a hint to Facebook followers about where to find some piece of art. Local organizer Jun-Li Wang of Saint Paul said she is not concerned that other art would be mistakenly taken.
"Actually, it is labeled," said Wang. "It says 'Congratulations! This is free art, take me home'."
Each Friday, Wang, her husband and a couple of friends, administer the Facebook group which, as of Friday, had grown to 900 followers. "It is really meant to be sort of a do-it-yourself, free form, organic," said Wang. "The idea is just anyone can do this."
This Friday, Wang brought a piece of cloth to hide. "This is a screen-printed dish towel. So, I designed this with this heart."
The simple white cloth had been printed with the phrase "Library Love." The shape of the letters formed a human heart. Wang felt it was appropriate for the location in which this art was hidden: a bush outside a public library.
"Well, you don't want it to be so hidden so that people have to dig under things," said Wang. It is a good approach, since the hiders of the Winter Carnival Medallion had to announce that no digging was needed to find their valuable treasure. Too many treasure hunters were digging up public parks, hoping to make a few thousand dollars in the prize.
However, there is no monetary prize in the Free Art Fridays program, just the satisfaction of following the hint and locating the art. Cici, 10, and Ruby, 8, Kintoph of Saint Paul, have had that satisfaction. Their mother, Melissa Martinez, heard of a Facebook page and enlisted her girls in the search.
The children found the plastic-sealed bag near a Vietnamese restaurant on University Avenue near Dale. Inside was a drawing.
"It is a picture with a bike on it and it says 'Bike like you mean it'," said CiCi. The girls said they like the challenge of the search.
"You have to know your way around the city," said Cici.
"You find more places that are pretty and in times like seasons, in winter and fall and spring because it is going to be all year that she is doing this," said Ruby.
And, of course, while the art may be priceless, it costs nothing.
The FaceBook page can be found at "Free Art Fridays Twin Cities". The group has twitter access at #faftc.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)