Local artists are involved in a new movement – Free Art Friday.
“People who would otherwise not be exposed to art are going to be exposed when they find a piece for free on the streets of their community,” said Scott Wong of Appleton
Through Facebook postings, Wong has rallied area artists to participate in a special “Flood the Streets with Art” on Black Friday, Nov. 29.
“I chose Black Friday because it’s typically the one day of the year that really manages to bring out the worst in everyone,” he said. “People are fighting over $4 toasters and hoards of greedy individuals are pushing and shoving and trampling each other at five o’clock in the morning. It’s just a greedy day … and the ironic part is it all occurs the day after we’ve all supposedly sat down and given thanks to everything we have in life.”
Wong says he doesn’t dream big, but his idea is bigger than the state of Wisconsin.
“The event is continuing to spread across every community all over the globe and it is continuing to inspire individuals along the way,” he said. “The movement is now officially geared towards every artist and creator on planet Earth.”
Currently, he has artists in 47 of the U.S. states, 17 different countries and all seven continents.
“The world needs more good deeds and it needs more random acts of kindness,” Wong said. “I also believe it needs more art.”
Since starting the project on Sept. 16, 2012, he has not missed a single Friday.
“The concept of Free Art Friday is simple. It is essentially a random act of kindness using artwork,” Wong said. “I paint a new piece of artwork every week and I leave it on the street in a public spot for a stranger to find, take home and love.”
He believes the movement is making a difference by inspiring people to become artists again, while others have learned to appreciate artwork.
“It isn’t just about the free art – it goes well beyond that simple premise,” Wong said. “People all over the world from all walks of life with every skill level and medium imaginable are coming together to do this one good deed.”
Through Facebook, he has learned that over 1,800 artists are committed to dropping a piece of free art all over the streets of their communities on a global basis on Black Friday.
Wong has loved art since kindergarten when he created his very first elbow macaroni masterpiece. He became a graffiti/street artist.
“I like to joke that I stopped doing street art in my 30s when I could no longer run from the police,” he said. “I’ve been painting on canvases ever since.”
At age 39, Wong works full-time at Curwood in Oshkosh.
“My art is what I do to escape the stress and worry of a normal work week,” he said.
“As an artist, success isn’t going to fall into your lap and I don’t care how good of an artist you are or where you went to school,” Wong said. “We know as artists in order to become the artist you want, you need to get up, get out there and get your name up. Free Art Friday – Wisconsin has allowed me to do this. By leaving a piece of art for free on the streets, it has enabled me to reach individuals with my art who would otherwise not be exposed.”
His free art has opened some doors. “If nothing else, it forces me to continue to remain creative as I am painting a new piece of art each and every week,” he said.
Wong encourages artists of all mediums and skill levels to join him on Black Friday by leaving a piece of their art somewhere in their community.
“The feeling I get after leaving a piece on the street for someone to find is a feeling like no other,” he said.