Those in Kingston, Napanee, and around the world may be lucky enough to happen upon an artistic treasure later this month, as International Art and Found Day takes place on Sunday, Mar. 12, 2023.
Local artists have original works of art ready to go for this free treasure-hunt-style event. Now in its third year, the day sees thousands of free artworks from artists all over the world placed within their local communities for neighbouring residents to find.
“Right now as of this very moment, 769 artists are participating from 38 countries,” Napanee artist Lisa Ray Koenig told Kingstonist. “This global event is exciting and is greatly anticipated by many.”
Koenig calls herself a “pandemic painter” and said she loves to share with people in a “pay it forward” model.
“When I came across this event, I thought it was an incredible concept,” she added. “It was so fun ‘hiding’ my artwork, then giving hints as to where the art may be hidden via my social media pages @groovycatsart.“
According to the Art and Found website, the concept was created almost 10 years ago by Toronto artist Courtney Senior. Before she found her footing in the world of selling art, Senior decided to find loving homes for her work by giving it away for free. She would package up her original artworks and leave them around different neighbourhoods in Toronto for people to find. Each artwork came with a note on the outside that read “Hello, I’m an original abstract painting in need of a loving home. FREE ART #ArtandFound.”
Participating artists choose one or more artworks to share — and there is virtually no limit on the type of art that can be shared. According to the website, works range from paintings, photographs, drawings, handmade items, to music albums and other multi-media pieces. Each piece is packaged up safely and clearly marked with the hashtag #ArtandFoundDay, with an additional note on the inside with information about the piece and the artist.
Emerging local artist Amanda Boutilier participated in Art and Seek last year, which is a similar event for Canada only, she explained.
“The feedback from the event last year was great! I live just outside Kingston, Ontario, in Amherstview, so I made up a location clue ‘riddle’ and had a number of people out on the hunt for it,” the self-taught artist and photographer said. “The individual that found my piece was really excited and had never had an original piece of art before, so that was really special to hear that I was their first!”
Koenig has also had fantastic feedback from the past Art and Found event. “Those who have found artwork during this day have been thrilled! I have had people reach out to me thanking me for the painting they found, as well as having people stopping in whilst I was out and about telling me that they found a Groovy Cats original! With each piece of art that is ‘hidden’ there is an additional note on the inside with information about the artwork and the artist. People have said to me that they can’t wait for the next Art and Found Day and have nudged me a bit as to where I may ‘hide’ my artwork.”
Both artists stated that this event is important for the art community, and local residents, as it allows those who might not consider purchasing art, or have the means to do so, to potentially own an original piece. It also promotes artists by getting their names and art styles out to the local community.
“This event is a breath of fresh air in that respect because you literally just put your artwork out there! There’s no middle man,” Boutilier expressed. “The ‘Art and Found Day’ organization promotes you, then you can share the event easily on your own Facebook or Instagram and at the end of the day, someone finds your artwork and everybody is really happy! It’s always appreciated if the person finding your artwork gives it a shout out on social media and tags you. It’s great exposure for an artist!”
In the Napanee area, several local artists will be participating including Koenig, Jeanne Hudson, Joanne Kells Chalmers, Pat Dubyk and Tammy Hood. The Art and Found website offers an interactive map of artists and their location. The following artists are listed for Kingston: Carolyn Barnett, Carolyn Judson, Danielle Barr, Kristina Murray, Leslie Dunn, and Martha Williams.
For more information, visit the Art and Found website.