Free Art 4 U Returns to Milledgeville

By JD Davern

It started with a short documentary on a community-driven art project – five artists make small pieces for an event and hide them around the hosting city. Whoever finds the bags, gets to keep the art. Since then, it’s become a small tradition, and this year marks round two for Milledgeville.

Starting at 2PM p.m. on February 5, the Milledgeville First Fridays Facebook page released clues leading to the art bags’ locations, officially starting the citywide scavenger hunt. They could be around main street, they could be downtown, they could be right on campus. Free Art 4 U is a countrywide project, popular in Atlanta, and Milledgeville wanted to do a unique thing with it.

“We have three classes participating from the GC College Art Department and several local artist [sic] in town,” Deanne Thornton, the director of the event said. “I’m not sure the exact number of art pieces but I would say around 40-50.”

There’s plenty of art to go around, that is if everyone finds it all. The event ran until 8 PM p.m., and last year it only took until 6 PM p.m. to snatch up all the pieces, and given the size of downtown Milledgeville, it didn’t take as long this time.

Nicole Powell, of GSU, made a short documentary on five of the artists that performed in the 2013 run. Those were Spookytoons, Evereman [sic], Catlanta, Miss ATL, and Blockhead, who you might see coming back this year.

“[FA4U] wants art to be accessible to anyone, everywhere,” Thornton said. “Even getting people involved with FA4U is building a community to collaborate and create new pieces of art to give back.”

The event is also a great way for other artists to make themselves known through a fun downtown-wide scavenger hunt, and with some attention drawn, to break out into bigger projects.

William Fisher, head of GC’s own Arts department, was part of the team that worked with Thornton, and Carlee Schulte, to build the event when it came to Milledgeville, and is on-board for round two.

“She introduced us to the regional Free Art 4 U campaign active in Atlanta and elsewhere and suggested that our students might be interested,” Fisher said. “Several faculty in our department worked with our students to create giveaways last year, and we renewed the project for this Feb. 5 event.”

Art pieces are protected in labeled containers, of course, and could be hidden anywhere from canoe bags to restaurant tables. The the only way to find them is to go looking.

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