Abandoned art promotes Annapolis Royal festival

Gifts of art turning up in unexpected places

Published on July 17, 2014

Abandoned Art is being discovered all over the province. The small gifts of art like this one found at a second-hand clothing store, are in advance of the  ARTs Unleashed! Festival in Annapolis Royal in August.


Small gifts of art from Annapolis Royal area artists are turning up in unexpected places thanks to the ARTs Unleashed! Festival

By Sheila Duggan

In this era of uncertainty, unclaimed packages are something we usually avoid but recently, see-through bags containing small pieces of art have been turning up in the most unlikely of locations – gardens, airports, parks, restaurants, and used clothing stores.  It’s all thanks to the ARTs Unleashed! Festival’s hands-on promotional campaign dubbed “Abandoned Art”.  

Festival organizers have been recruiting travelling volunteers who leave the tiny anomalies in unusual locations along their travels.

“We owe a big thank-you to the talented artists who have donated small works for the campaign as well as to the individuals who agreed to make the drops,” said festival coordinator Andrea Vandenboer.

The small packages carry an ARTs Unleashed tag as well as a small information sheet promoting the festival which runs from Aug. 16 through 24 in Annapolis Royal. The message also asks the accidental finder to send an email to the festival or post on the ARTs Unleashed Facebook page indicating where the treasure was spotted.  “Abandoned Art” has turned up all over the Annapolis Valley, in Halifax, Toronto, Washington DC, North Carolina and across the Atlantic. “We’ve had some interesting messages lately,” says Vandenboer. “People are really getting into the spirit.”  


Found Some Art

One mother recently posted the following: “We found some art by Mirta Bunce at Wolfville's Just Us café last week…Two young friends were sitting with me at the time and after pushing what I thought was a bit of junk mail further down the bench, the words"Pick me up and Open' (or something like that) finally leapt out at me - the girls and I were so excited to discover this free art. It so inspired these Wolfville School students, that they went home and made some of their own art. We placed it in the same envelope with the same catchy tag and have passed it on in hopes it will also be discovered.”

Another message received described a “find” in another coffee shop.

“In meandering to a seat, I glanced down, and behold, I saw a rather interesting art card by Louise Pentz. Actually, there were two: 'Burden of Justice' and 'No More.' These messages were familiar as my work as a social worker brought me into contact with many women whose souls mirrored these images.”


Hidden Gems

With a few weeks to go until the Festival, treasure hunters still have a chance to locate a hidden gem and record their find at facebook.com/artsunleashedannapolisroyal. There’s more art to be discovered when ARTs Unleashed! kicks off with “Paint the Town” weekend on Aug. 16. For a full schedule visit the website.

ARTs Unleashed! is sponsored by Annapolis Region Community Arts Council (ARCA)C with funding from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, Annapolis Ventures and the Town of Annapolis Royal.