Art Drop Day scavenger hunt expands along the Front Range on Tuesday

Pam Farris is putting herself — and her students — in the path of scavenger hunters on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

That’s worldwide Art Drop Day, when artists hide (or “drop”) their original works in public places, post clues online and wait for art-hunters to discover them. Besides being a mosaic artist and member of the Next Gallery in Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District, Farris is a middle school art teacher with Jefferson County Public Schools.

“It’s such a fun way to get people excited about art,” she said. “I just wish I could wait around and see who picks them up.”

Farris is one of dozens of local contributors to the celebratory day started by Jake Parker of Provo, Utah. Denver has been taking part since 2017, when the city’s cultural arm, Denver Arts & Venues, began promoting it online and hiding miniature versions of “I See What You Mean” (a.k.a. sculptor Lawrence Argent’s Big Blue Bear sculpture outside the Colorado Convention Center) in nooks and crannies around the city.

Now it’s a Front Range event, roping in not just Denver metro artists and art lovers but those in Longmont, Thornton, Northglenn, Lafayette, Aurora, Littleton, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch and other communities as well. Artists are hiding a wide range of items from canvas paintings and small sculptures to jewelry and textiles, custom face masks, key chains and more.

This year, Farris made a pair of brightly colored Colorado state flag mosaics, and is having her students this week make their own art to drop as a class project (although they won’t be participating in the hunt). It’s Farris’ fourth year taking part in Art Drop Day.

“I’ll give my students bonus points if they actually drop it on (Sept. 5) and send me proof,” Ferris said, noting that her students aren’t normally combing Instagram or Facebook, where clues are posted.

Googling #ArtDropDenver will bring up dozens of them, city officials said, having handed out mini blue bears to City Council members to drop in their own districts. Arts & Venues officials also recommended searching Twitter for the same hashtag to get hints. Artists can register to take part, but don’t need to given the informal nature of the event.

Artworks are made, placed and found by individuals, creating a one-on-one connection, however anonymous, Ferris said. The artist will likely never meet the person who found their piece, but that piece may live long after Art Drop Day.

“I love getting online and seeing the stories of people who find stuff,” Ferris said. Her Next Gallery colleague Georgia Padilla, also an artist, is hiding roughly 20 pieces of art starting in Castle Rock and making her way north.

“I can’t wait!” artist Ava Hendrickson wrote on Facebook. “I have canvas jewelry and sunglasses holders, little clay pinch pots, canvas and watercolor paintings, and we’ll see what else I come up with!”

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