#arthuntWR is the Instagram hashtag for Waterloo Region's free art scavenger hunt. Artists post a picture or video on Instagram showing their art in its hiding place with the hashtag #arthuntWR. Art hunters follow the hashtag to be the first to see new posts and track down awesome finds from local artists.
Jessica Jungton is one of the organizers and she answered some questions about the event for Culture Fancier.
1. How did Art Hunt WR get started?
#arthuntWR is inspired by the Free Art Fridays scene in Atlanta (#fafatl). I read a Medium article by Justin Cox about his visit to Atlanta in 2015 and the excitement of the art hunt really stuck with me. I knew that Waterloo Region would be a great match for a similar event and gathered together some local artists and art enthusiasts to make it a reality.
2. How long does it take to coordinate an event like this?
Each event has been different so far. We don't organize the artists or "art hunters" ahead of time. Anyone can join on the day of the hunt so we don't have too much to oversee before the event. Our main job is to get the word out and encourage people to take part. That, and choosing our own hiding places.
3. How many artists are you expecting to participate for the May 28 event?
We are expecting a few dozen to be hiding art. We have had many tell us they have their hiding spot all planned and there are usually a few surprise additions on the day. The more, the merrier!
4. What has the community reaction been like?
Waterloo Region has been the perfect community for an event like this. We have had so much amazing support from local business helping us raise awareness of the event and leaving information for their patrons. Some of them even let us hide art in their shops. We have had a great turn out for the events so far and are expecting even more on May 28. We even have people that have stumbled across some of the art, unaware of #arthuntWR and joined the hunt for the rest of the day. It's exciting and encouraging to be part of a community that values art.
5. Has any artist ever been so good at hiding their art that it was never found?
There have a been a few. If it isn't looking like someone will find the art, the artist can choose to add more clues in comments on the Instagram image throughout the day. We tell each artist to put their art in a spot that they can pick up at the end of the day if no one is able to find it.
6. Do you consider this event as an opportunity for artists to promote their art?
We absolutely want artists to be promoting themselves and their art but this event is also a fun way to get to know our community and the amazing spaces that we have. I have discovered many local businesses and parks while searching for and finding art from other artists. I have also learned about talented local artists that I may not have known of without #arthuntWR.
7. What's next for Art Hunt WR?
I would love to see #arthuntWR grow to be as active as #fafatl. Right now in Atlanta, almost every hour there is someone hiding art around the city, and it is picked up by art fans just as quickly. There is a real sense of community with the hunts. They even have "famous" artists that have special aliases and themes they only use for the hunts. #fafatl has been around for 5-10 years though so it will take some time to reach that amount of activity. We held a few events last year and are now aiming to have a #arthuntWR every month this year until the snow comes. Our long-term goal is to have the hashtag being used year round by art enthusiasts hiding and finding art without specific events or organizers.
Photos from the Art Hunt Twitter and Instagram pages
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Happy hunting! Come back and let me know if you were one of the lucky art hunters.