My friend Anne mentioned an innovative artwork at a local coffee house and suggested I check it out. The artist calls the work “The Abandoned Art Project”–beautiful tags, hand-crafted collage with an optimistic message. The idea is simple–buy a tag ($5 each) and then “abandon” it in an unlikely place, leaving the lucky recipient to feel serendipitously loved and cherished. Then the artist asks that the purchaser of the tag return to the coffee shop and leave a note indicating where the tag was abandoned.
I think this is lovely and buy four of them, finish my coffee and head over to Walmart. I turn into the parking lot and attempt to grab an empty space but see that the truck parked in front of me overshot the line. Now my tail-end is sticking out. Frustrated, I glance over at my passenger seat and see my four tags. I get out holding the tag that says “Dream” and place it under the truck’s windshield wiper. This attracts some unwanted attention–shoppers returning to the car next to mine look curious, wondering what this is all about. I capture my first abandoned art moment in a photo.
I’m headed back to my car when the owner of the truck arrives. He doesn’t notice the tag but notices me noticing him. I smile and say that I left him a present. “A present?” he asks, then glances at his windshield and removes the tag, reads it and smiles. I briefly tell him about the local artist and the idea of abandoning these pieces in unlikely places as a way of spreading cheer. I didn’t mention his parking space overindulgence. He thanked me and said he hoped God blessed me. I said I hoped the same for him.
I’m grateful to the artist–I’d give credit but there was no name–for the vision and mission and the possibility it offered to me and a truck driver. If you’re near Geneva, IL, check out the work at Graham’s 318 on Third Street. I’ll be heading back there myself, to leave a note.