Forty-five pieces of artwork find new home on Art and Found Day

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As part of International Art and Found Day on March 12, board members of Webster Arts in collaboration with local artists wrapped and placed paintings, pottery and prints in public parks around Webster Groves for anyone to take.

Contributed photo from Webster Arts.

Heather Sparkman, communications and marketing director for Webster Arts, said the organization became involved in the annual Art and Found Day as a low-cost way to share art with the community. Last month marked Webster Arts’ second year participating in the international event.

“We exist as an organization to bring art to our community, so what better way to do that than to actually have free art to give away?” Sparkman said.

On March 12, the free pieces of art were all set out by 10 a.m., with visual clues to their locations posted on Webster Arts’ social media. All pieces were wrapped in a brown paper bag labeled with a note specifying the type of art inside and the statement “I’m looking for a new home.” All forty-five artworks were picked up by 1 p.m.

Contributed photo from Webster Arts.

“Next year, we’re hoping maybe to double that number and see if we can drop off more art, you know, collect through the year and do more because people really enjoy [it],” Sparkman said. “Some people spend an hour and a half, two hours looking for art around the city.”

Originally spearheaded by Canadian artist Courtney Senior in 2015, the concept revolved around finding her art a home by giving it away for free in Toronto. As other artists joined in, the official International Art and Found Day was created in 2020 as an effort for artists to share their work without having to sell it.

“I wasn’t ready to sell my work but still wanted to share it with the world,” Senior said. “During the pandemic, I thought it would [be] awesome to get other artists involved to help spread joy during such a hectic time.”

St. Louis-based painter and potter Jerry “J.C.” Williams has participated in Webster Arts’ Art and Found Day for the last two years. For the 2022 event, Williams made glazed clay spheres with a shadow of a turtle on top and engravings of words of encouragement, inspired by a CBS news story on Eben Horton and Jennifer Nauck’s hand-blown glass orbs that they hide on Block Island, located off the coast of Rhode Island.

“People have come from far and wide to try and find those spheres on this island,” Williams said. “[That] inspired me. And the first thing I thought was, ‘Well, I’m gonna make me some stuff and we’re going to Block Island.’”

Soon after that, Williams discovered Webster Arts was hosting a local Art and Found Day event. He brought the glazed pieces to Webster Arts, and they were placed around Webster Groves.

This year, Williams contributed a piece of pottery and a 5-by-7-inch watercolor painting.

“The goal has always been to encourage creativity, spread joy through art and connect with our community,” Senior said.

Already in preparation for the next Art and Found Day, Webster Arts is accepting contributions from local artists. The organization will also host its second-ever Scavenger Hunt on April 15, another community event for sharing art.

“It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon with some friends, going and finding some really cool places in the city. There really is quite a bit of good public art in Webster Groves,” Sparkman said. “Webster is a city of the arts and that’s a pretty fantastic thing. We want to highlight that.”

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Lifestyle Editor | + posts

Kate McCracken (she/her) is currently a staff writer for The Journal. She has previously worked as the lifestyle editor. She is a double major in Philosophy and History, minoring in Professional Writing. She has always loved to write and create stories, and she wrote her first book at age 10. Aside from writing, Kate also enjoys photography, environmental/animal activism, paranormal investigation and oneirology, the study of dreams.