Students give art to strangers

By DREW CHITTICK bradenandrewc@gmail.com
Posted 9/14/20

Millie Arp has been teaching art at Mayo for the past three years and has just finished a new project that got her students excited.

“They’ve painted the front [of paint sticks], and …

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Students give art to strangers

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Millie Arp has been teaching art at Mayo for the past three years and has just finished a new project that got her students excited.

“They’ve painted the front [of paint sticks], and on the back they wrote ‘this was created and abandoned by’ their first name,” said Arp.

Her art classes spent part of the last week placing their pieces on various walks around Paris.

She got the idea from a trend that’s been building online for several years.

“I’m a member of this Facebook group called Art Abandonment, people will post pictures of things they’ve abandoned or pieces they’ve found from all over the U.S.” said Arp, adding the project was started by Michael deMeng. “He was a fine artist and found himself not being able to let go of his own pieces. So he started leaving them in public places. Usually if artists abandon a piece they’ll leave a tag.”

Arp explained abandoned art is about more than decluttering. She wanted her students to learn the

importance of letting go of things. Some students, she acknowledged, had a difficult time with just leaving behind their creation because they were proud of the finished product.

“I’m proud of the kids because it does take some gumption to put a lot of time and part of yourself into something knowing you’ll never see it again, that it could never be found or be destroyed,” she said.

Still, Arp believes the students have been excited about the project, but she does not want to overdo it. 

“It’s supposed to be kind of serendipitous,” she said. “You don’t want people to always be expecting it.”

She has another community project lined up for her class. The students will create a highly visible mural behind Lions Park that faces First Mid Bank.

“They (the bank) approached me to do it (as a commission), but I thought it’d be cool to have it be a school project,” Arp said.