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'Everybody Should Be Exposed to Art' Abandonment Project in KRV Gifts Strangers Handmade Art Pieces

The Makers and Art Abandonment Project is an ongoing program where artists leave their art out for anybody curious enough to find it
Posted at 1:40 PM, Feb 29, 2024
  • Video shows artists creating their art, adorable alpacas, leather scented soap, cute gnomes and a whole lot of art.
  • The Kern River Valley Art Association has started the Makers and Art Abandonment Project where artists leave their art all around the Kern River Valley for people to find.

Look around– that's all you have to do to take home a hand crafted piece of art by a local.

As part of the Makers and Art Abandonment Project, local artists have been leaving their art pieces around the Kern River Valley since last June – and with many dedicated artists, it’s not unlikely that a keen eye will be able to find some treasure.

“Gee, what would happen if everybody just felt, 'Yeah I’ll make something for someone else',” said Art Sidner, a resident who brought the project to the Kern River Valley Art Association after he applied for a grant that aimed to make the community better through art.

Sid participates on the project as a maker, which is an artist that creates something to abandon. He uses photos he’s taken and attaches them to cell phone holders using epoxy.

“I think there is this sense of adventure that I’m creating something that is going to please somebody else,” Sidner said.

The project started last summer and Sidner estimates over one hundred artists have taken part in it – artists like Tawny Green.

“I think everybody should be exposed to art and not everyone gets the opportunity,” Green said.

Green says she started abandoning art in the Kern River Valley in 2015 – Before the art association started their project a year ago.

“It’s originally a water color – this is a print,” said Green, showing off the piece she was wrapping to abandon.

When she abandons art, she makes a post on the Facebook page – hinting at where it is at.

She calls her art -

“Womanic Art: a Wild Women’s Expression.”

Laura Tran is a local artist who lives in Weldon. She’s abandoned many different things, including dryer balls made from alpaca fiber.

“It just feels kind of good letting something go, you are basically releasing your energy and your spirit out to the world”

Most of her art is practical – Tran also makes homemade soaps, candles and deodorant.

Examples of soap that Laura Tran makes
Examples of soap that Laura Tran makes

She packs them up and affixes a label that explains the project to someone who has found it.

“Pick me up, take me home,” Tran said, reading the label.

A QR code is attached and when the art is found, the finder is encouraged to post to the Facebook page to let the artists know their art has been found.

“I feel like it’s so fun to find something put in the middle of nowhere. Especially in the Kern River Valley where there's not much out here so to see a little pocket of artwork found in a bush or a tree or on your way to a donut shop or something, it just kind of brightens someone’s day,” Tran said.

Most artists choose a place that will be easy to find, and some might post hints about where it could be on the Facebook Page.

Other artists might make it challenging - like Tran’s friend.

“She got in her kayak and rode all the way and rode into a little island and then dropped this, and then someone actually found it,” Tran explained.

If you would like to get involved, you can find the labels at the Art Gallery in Wofford Heights.

“That's my goal with my art, is for someone to stop out of the craziness or busyness and have a moment of joy or fun – see something colorful and maybe smile,” Green said.

Artists who abandon five or more pieces are given a shirt by the Kern River Valley Art Association.

“I’m trying to create that ethic of a community that makes things, and makes things to give away,” Sidner said.

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