All workers, indeed all people need to find ways to measure their self worth beyond the narrow options established in the market economy. Free Art Friday addresses this important societal need by providing gentle interruptions to the work day, asking participants to dig into their own resourcefulness in order to make an artistic exchange.
No money is allowed in these transactions and yet the project is designed to speak truth to power with a light touch, a sense of humor and a deep respect for the participants' own creativity.
The images here capture several Free Art Friday events that have taken place in the neighborhood where my old studio was located on the edges of the San Francisco Financial District. In Free Art Friday: Barter Edition, participants were asked to exchange the immaterial (a joke, a song, a piece of advice) for the material (a piece of art). In Free Art Friday: Dance Edition (see video) participants were asked to generate an idea that they wanted to see embodied in dance in exchange for a personal dance performance on the sidewalk. The Free Art Friday: Egg Edition and Free Art Friday: Tea Editions engaged passersby in the question of art's intrinsic value when compared to food (the egg) and time (the cup of tea).
I welcome suggestions for other ideas for Free Art Friday, a collaborative effort in the spirit of the Gift Economy.