Salvador Delvisco runs Free Art Friday DC (FAFDC), an event that encourages artists in the area to leave their work out in public areas in Washington, DC, offering it up for free to whoever falls in love with it. The idea began in the UK, but has spread to several major cities in the United States. The basic idea as described on the FAF Grand Rapids website goes like this:
- Create a piece of art.
- Write on an attached tag “free art, to take home and enjoy.” Adding artist name, email, or web address is optional.
- Place somewhere in public, indoors or out.
Still confused? Watch this video.
I asked Salvador Delvisco some questions about FAFDC. Here are his responses:
Why did you start Free Art Friday DC? Why not Free Art Friday Baltimore which would be closer to where you live?
I work as an electronics technician for a large government contractor in Washington, DC and it is easier for me to drop art here.
When I started FAFDC, I was living in Northern Virginia, but I have recently relocated to Baltimore. I’m planning on starting Free Art Friday Baltimore in the next few months. My ultimate plan is to become a full-time artist in Baltimore. At that point I will try to find someone local in DC to take over operations there.
I began working on FAFDC in early 2010 when a friend of mine in Atlanta told me about a group of artists that gave away free art on the first Friday of each month. It was called Free Art Friday Atlanta. I really liked the idea. I emailed the contact address on their web site for information and told them I wanted to start a free art project like theirs in Washington, DC. They were very supportive.
I have since learned that those Atlanta artists were not the originators of the idea, they were just early in the game. From what I understand an artist in London that goes by the name of My Dog Sighs is the originator of the Free Art Friday idea. Since 2010, I have noticed many more Free Art Friday projects starting up all over the world.
How many artists are involved in DC?
For the majority of the time FAFDC has been going on it’s been just me placing art. I’ve had a handful of other artists participate once or twice in the past, but I am the only regular art dropper that I know of. For the inaugural FAFDC in July 2010, artists from Atlanta sent artwork to me. An artist from England, John Curtis, also sent several items for me to drop this past Fall. I’ve placed ads in local newspapers and I’ve tried other grass-roots marketing techniques to get others involved. I hope to involve more local artists on a regular basis.
What are some of the best stories you’ve heard about Free Art Friday DC since you started it?
Every now and then I will get an email, tweet, or a Facebook message from someone that has found one of my works of art. They’re always very grateful and think that FAFDC is an awesome idea. It makes me feel good to know that my art, or the artwork that another artist has contributed, has made a difference in that person’s day or week or month. That is the reason I started FAFDC. I want to do my part and spread some happiness in this world.
Is DC an art-friendly city?
Washington, DC has some great public/street art all around the city and there are ample museums to visit that display wonderful exhibits. But, as far as a great art scene away from the museums, I don’t feel that it currently exists. It could be so much better. I personally feel that Baltimore has a much funkier and active art scene than Washington DC.
Has this project connected you with people in the city you would not have met otherwise?
It has connected me with artists in Washington, DC and all over the world that I would not have met otherwise. I now know several artists in England and also in Israel. We have exchanged artwork for our respective Free Art Friday projects. For me, the most exciting aspect of being involved in the Free Art Friday movement is the opportunity to have my artwork out on the streets of Tel-Aviv or another foreign country to be enjoyed by someone that would otherwise never have known of my work. It’s a good feeling.
Has the project helped your development as an artist?
Absolutely. I studied art extensively in my younger years but I spent about 20 years of my life in a very dark, alcoholic stupor from the age of 18 until the age of 37. I sketched a little during that time but had no real hobbies other than drinking and chasing women. I missed out on a lot of artistic development. Since, I’ve taken control of my alcohol and bar life addiction I’ve started creating again, and it has been wonderful. FAFDC allows me to create smaller works of many different types. I get to experiment with the art I create for FAFDC, and that ability to try new things is priceless to me as an artist.