Extra, extra! Read all about it! Cycle team delivers free art!
On August 18 (“Giftervention Day”), a bicycle brigade will hit the streets of Calgary to distribute free pieces of art to passersby. It’s part of Papergirl, a project that collects and displays work from contributors before giving it all away. The concept originated in Berlin and has since spread. Sunshine Frère, the artist and organizer behind the Calgary event, contributed to Papergirl in Vancouver last year and is eager to bring the pedal-powered project to Calgary.
“I decided it would be perfect to have it set in Calgary because it has got this great energy about it, and the people of Calgary tend to really get excited about this kind of project,” says Frère.
There are already hundreds of submissions from artists young and old, emerging and established, local and international. The variety of work is similarly huge, with everything from traditional canvasses to photographic travel prints to Japanese ink drawings to hand-stitched collages and more. Until the eve of the 18th, the artwork will be displayed for the public to peruse in the Arts Learning Centre at the Epcor Centre. On top of that, Papergirl is offering a few workshops that will help create artistic identifiers, or “bike bling,” for the riders — streamers, noisemakers and bike corsages.
The real fun comes on distribution day. The bike route is still top secret, but riders laden with rolled-up artwork will roam the streets of Calgary and offer pieces to unsuspecting strangers. No one is forced to accept anything, of course, but if you do you’re likely to discover something fresh and new (and there’s always the re-gift option if the piece isn’t to your taste). “One of my favourite submissions last year in Vancouver was by a four-year-old who had a great eye and she used a lot of sparkle glitter — and it was amazing!” says Frère.
She says Papergirl is not only about “getting the work out into the streets, taking it out of the gallery and sharing it with people, but it offers an exchange, and the gift... opens up a new dialogue on what art is.”
Whether you’re a rider, a recipient or an artist, there’s a lot of different ways to engage with Papergirl.
“I really find it is a very personal thing, what each person takes out of this project, because there’s so many elements to it,” says Frère. “For me, the big draw was the notion that the artwork is a gift. Art itself really is a gift to people.”
There’s still plenty of time to get involved as a papergirl — or boy — although space is limited. Workshops happen as follows: bike bling on August 11, ephemra painting on August 14 and bike bling accessories on August 16. There will be an opening celebration on August 9 and distribution of the art takes place August 18. Email email@example.com for details.