Friday, May 17, 2013


Okay, so I've talked about this but I want to recap because we have been so successful with this Free Art Friday initiative.  Thursday, May 16 was a big day for RNE at Roswell’s monthly “Alive After Five” community get-together in historic Roswell. Students had the opportunity to find the artworks they had made during Artist Day—I and Gina Steffensen took the public art that students made and put it all around the Alive After Five area. Many artworks were in plain sight, while other pieces were subtly placed for maximum surprise. All of the artworks were found and taken, some moved around, some pocketed. Each artwork had instructions on the back, and I was delighted to have some folks tweet their pictures with the found art!

If you don’t know what the public art buzz is all about at RNE, read on:

On Artist Day, every student attended an activity called “Public Art”, where they learned about Atlanta artists who make small artworks to share with the public. Once a month, they collaborate to make “Free Art Friday” happen; their work is put out for anyone. It’s free, usually somewhat hidden so that it’s a fun discovery, and meant to be either kept or redistributed. Artists tweet a picture that gives a hint of where one might find the artwork. Instructions with the artwork: tweet to the artists’ twitter feed with a picture of you holding the art you found. If you do, they’ll post your picture on their website. It’s a great collaborative initiative to share art with the public. When our students learned about it, they made 2” x 2” artworks to place for our own Free Art Friday at RNE on May 10--while the Atlanta artists were doing the exact same thing! 

How did this come about?  In March, the artist who started it—Atlanta’s “Evereman”—challenged the FCS art teachers to have their students join the initiative. I took it seriously and set up the Public Art activities for Artist Day.
Pretty cool...I got to make an artwork with Evereman.  He totally inspired me to rock the FAFATL idea.
Once all 1100 students had made the artworks, I and Mrs. Steffensen, our itinerant Art teacher, put instructional stickers on the back, laminated them, cut them all apart, and put magnets on the back. On Passion Day, I ran an Art Scavenger Hunt; my cluster found art I’d put out for them, then they came back and made art for Alive After Five later on in the month. Ms. Steffensen’s group made pizza magnets in their cluster, as well.

Friday, May 10 was the official Atlanta Free Art Friday. We placed 600 artworks around the school all day, in waves....students could find 4 and keep them--after that, it was up to them to let others find it, or redistribute it. Many students moved the art around for others to find. It was a terrific day--the air was electrified and everywhere you could hear students buzzing:
"Did you find some?"
"How many can we keep?"
"I found my own!"
"I found one on the ceiling!"
"I moved it all around!"
"I'm going to go make more!"
Art was flying around the school, and everyone was excited about the prospect of doing it all over again a week later at Alive After Five in historic Roswell. I took pictures and tweeted all day long--all the findings, all the hiding places, all the success, all the excited chatter. A wave of art advocacy was sweeping the school!  Atlanta artists tweeted back their excitement—no school in FCS had taken the challenge to such lengths—the students of RNE were stepping into the Atlanta art scene as a real force! The group from Passion Day had called RNE “Kidlanta”, after the artists who involve themselves monthly: Catlanta, Mariarta, Wishlanta, Ms. Atl, Everman, and others. We are officially Kidlanta, and we tweet with that name!

Thursday, May 16 was Alive After Five in Roswell. We dropped 500 pieces of art and another wave of about 30 pieces of special work done by the Passion Day cluster. All artworks were found, several people tweeted back with pictures, and students were seen all over with their parents, finding art and sharing it with others. It’s an exciting time in the Atlanta art scene and our students are right in there with the professionals! I'm taking the challenge to continue working with RNE’s Kidlanta to make public art through the summer and during the school year so that we can continue to have a presence in the Atlanta art world. Be on the lookout at Alive After Five all summer—you may find some cool art!

His grandma tweeted that this is his first art!

Kidlanta's first tweeted finders!  Thanks!!
Kidlanta, on the move.

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