PEOPLE all over the town will be surrounded with creativity on July 25 when Swindon introduces its first Free Art Friday.
Free Art Friday, a global movement kicked off by street artist My Dog Sighs more than 10 years ago in Portsmouth, involves artists leaving work on corners around the town for members of the public to pick up for free.
Later this month, Sarah Harris, a local artist as well as a full-time statistician, hopes to kickstart the movement in Swindon with a mass-drop of art.
The 47-year-old from Stratton said: “I did think it might be something that wouldn’t really work in Swindon, but having seen it in Gloucester from its very beginnings, to where it is now with the whole community getting involved and excited about Free Art Fridays, I really hope it’s something that will work in Swindon. Gloucester is a similar town in many respects to Swindon so I think people will take to it.
“We’ll drop the art in all sorts of places, any places where the public goes so not along residential streets. They won’t be in shops either but on the street where anyone can pick them up. They’ll be on park benches or on window sills, around Lydiard Park and Coate Water as well as the town centre and Old Town.
“Some people might pick up pieces of art and take them home, or put them down again. Some might even be left there overnight and picked up by the street cleaners the next day. But that’s the risk you take.”
So far, more than 150 pieces of artwork from more than 30 different artists have been given to Sarah in advance of the drop, with more coming in on a daily basis.
Sarah said: “I have been overwhelmed with the number of pieces that I’ve been sent, from artists from Swindon and from further afield.
“There has been so much that Ella at Cradle Contemporary has said we can exhibit some of them at the gallery above The Core so people can have a look before we put them on the street.”
Sarah said the movement is a great way for new artists to get noticed, and also gives established artists free reign to be creative in new ways.
She said: “My Dog Sighs, who started the movement, started out with this by putting his work out for free. He became so popular now some of his work which he put out for free sells for thousands.
“It’s a good chance for artists like me who really do it as a hobby to put your work out there, and try to get a bit of a name.
“On the other hand some artists who are making money might only be doing work which they think people will buy and actually could find that the stuff they really want to do is stuff that people want as well.
“It’s also quite fun to pick up a piece of work you like and put it on your wall.”
For more information, to view the free art that will be dropped, or to contribute your pieces to the event and contact Sarah, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FreeArtFridaySwindon.