By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Council
In 2015, Toronto-based artist Courtney Senior initiated a social project called #ArtandFound. As a fledgling abstract artist who used art to process the sudden death of her father, she wasn’t yet ready to sell her work, but wanted it to go to a home where it could be appreciated and loved.
She wrapped up her work with a note taped to the outside that read, “Hello. I’m an original abstract painting in need of a loving home. FREE ART #ArtandFoundDay,” using the hashtag to signal it was part of a project and alleviate any fears or weirdness around picking up an unidentified package. Inside, she wrote a note about who she was, what the painting was about and her contact information. She’d leave packages around Toronto and sometimes watch to see who would pick them up.
“Over the years, I have received many lovely notes from people all over the city, expressing gratitude and excitement for their new artwork,” writes Senior. “Many people told me that it was their first ever original artwork, while others told me it made them feel like they were part of a real community.”
This year, Senior promoted the project as a means to “bring positivity, inspiration and happiness to our communities” as artists and creatives have “the power to do that.”
As of writing, there are 257 artists in 29 countries worldwide participating in International Art and Found Day on March 12. And one of them is Belleville-based Marc Poulin.
“I really liked how original this idea was, and I love the idea of (hopefully) making someone’s day, especially these days,” he says.
Poulin, who started painting about four years ago, has been experimenting with abstract acrylic with great success. For this project he painted eight “bright and colourful” 12” x 12” paintings that he’ll be distributing next Friday in the downtown Belleville area “in plain sight – so on benches, ledges, walking trails, parks and other public places.” He asks that if you find one, “please take lots of pictures, with you holding the painting or in its new home and tag me (@marcmakesart) and #ArtandFoundDay.”
When asked about the value of public art projects such as this, Poulin says, “It brings art into people’s lives, it brings attention to the arts, and it makes people happy.” And as for who he’d like to find one of his packages: “I really hope it is someone who doesn’t have original art… someone who needs a pick-me-up… and someone who likes my art!”
To participate as an artist:
· Choose one or more of your artworks, big or small. It could be a painting, photograph, drawing, handmade item, music album, etc.
· Package it up safely (consider waterproofing) and tape a note to the outside with the hashtag #ArtandFoundDay
· Leave a note on the inside with a little information about the piece and yourself
· Drop it off somewhere in your community on March 12th, 2021
· Share it on social media with the hashtag #ArtandFoundDay and be sure to tag @ArtandFoundDay and @QAC1967 on Instagram
· Become part of the international movement and register at courtseniorcreative.com/artandfoundday