An online project, Creative Deed 365, got me thinking about generosity. What makes someone want to give? The project's creator, Gretchen Miller, decided that she wanted offer a project/challenge that involves "...making small pieces of art (3 x 2.5) to randomly gift to others as acts of kindness and to spread creative goodness to others in the spirit of 6 Degrees of Creativity’s 2014 Creative Deed Project. I want to dedicate 2015 to sharing this process with others and give all the art away with year long positive messages of hope, inspiration, and possibility."
As I read further, I discovered that Gretchen was leaving the cards in coffee shops, tucked in bookstore shelves, at bus stops, almost any public place you could imagine. Each of them had the following message on the back:
I was inspired by Gretchen's idea and wondered how I could adapt it for myself. I knew that I couldn't keep up with one card a day (although I tried). Instead, I began to make cards in odd moments in the hospital, using them to process an interaction, or in an art therapy session, and as a means of self-care.
I wondered what to do with them, how could I offer them to others as a means of inspiration? I wanted to provide a place where people could look through the cards, choosing one that felt right to them. But where would that place be?
The idea, when it finally arrived, was simple. As I prepared my studio for our town's open studio tour, I thought about how when I visit artists' studios, I want to to leave with something tangible, something that preserves the beauty I've seen. The problem is that most of the time, I can't afford the art work.
I decided that in my own studio, I would take that obstacle away. Although much of my work would be for sale, I would give away small "365" pieces of art.
And I did. I watched people looking over my work: the prints, the large wall pieces, the gift cards and I could see at certain points, a small moment of longing cross their face. At those moments, I offered them a card. They took the process to heart, leafing through them as if they were tarot cards, searching for just the right one.
After that, I couldn't stop making the miniature offerings--although I don't know where the next drop off will be, that's all part of the surprise element.
If you are interested in joining Gretchen's project: Make a request to join the Creative Deed 365 Group on Facebook and contribute your own art in the spirit of this effort.