Art Abandonment—Random Acts of Beauty

girl releasing heart balloon

Today I placed a beautiful bracelet in a baggie—a piece I consider to be of real value because it’s unique, and because I made it with genuine semi-precious stones and sterling silver—and I took it to the Mission de Nombre Dios, set it down next to a big statue, and walked away.

I “abandoned” it.

Why? Because I’m part of a movement called Art Abandonment, a phenomenon started in June 2012 by Michael deMeng and his wife Andrea Matus deMeng. They published a book entitled “The Art Abandonment Project: Create and Share Random Acts of Art,” and started a Facebook group that grew quickly and now boasts more than 33,000 members worldwide. Including me.

Abandoners simply create something for the joy of making it, and then leave it for an unsuspecting person to find. You put a tag on it stating you are leaving the art as a gift to whomever finds it. They can take it, pass it along to someone else they know would love it, or simply leave it there for someone else to find if they don’t care for it. The tag has directions for how to email or post on the Facebook page telling about their experience of finding free art, if they choose to do so. But it’s anonymous—the finder never knows who the abandoner is.

I’ve done two “art drops,” and so far I haven’t heard from anyone who’s found one of my pieces. But it makes me smile to think about how it might make someone’s day a little brighter.

Recently I read a story on the group’s Facebook page about how a woman found a little painting of a cheerful flower at the hospital on her way out of a breast biopsy. She was so filled with happiness, and was so touched that someone would be generous enough to simply give something handmade and beautiful away with love, that she didn’t have any room left in her heart or mind to be worried about her biopsy results. She posted on the group’s page, and soon dozens of strangers were wishing her well, sending her prayers and words of support that she would never have accessed had it not been for Art Abandonment. Her gratitude kept growing, and I was moved by the abundance of encouragement and kindness.

And that’s really what it’s all about—random acts of kindness in a world that desperately needs more of it.

You don’t have to be a “good artist” to get in on the goodness of the movement. Some people paint designs on stones and leave them out in nature near natural rocks. Some people might color a pre-printed design and cut the pictures to make bookmarks or greeting cards. A few fiber artists are crocheting little Pokemon characters and leaving them where players are known to hunt for the virtual counterparts. The art can be almost anything. The intention of creating and sharing is more important than the “value” of the finished work. Who knows what someone else will find beautiful or valuable anyway? These are lucky, random “finders,” not art critics!

Do you think you’d like to join the fun? Here’s a link to the Facebook page:

Happy Abandoning!

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth Posted on September 7, 2016

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