You should be keeping an eye out for these art bags in the street

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Imagine walking down the street, minding your own business, then looking to the left and seeing a bag, sitting alone, with a note attached: “It’s all yours! No gimmicks. Congratulations!”

You would probably warily peek inside (I mean, it’s probably holding anthrax or dirty laundry or something, right?), only to find that there really is no trick: it’s filled with art supplies, free for the taking, yours to create with as you wish.

Pretty unbelievable, right? Well, the folks at the nonprofit CrownKeepers are making it so: they are placing art swag around Charlotte to be found via scavenger hunt. This is their gift to society in an attempt to “art the world,” said co-founder Davita Galloway, who runs the organization alongside her brother, Dion Galloway.

Items include anything from paints and canvases to stickers, nail polish, aprons, cookbooks and spray paint.

“Art is found in everything,” Galloway explained, “and we gift tools to create art you hang, art you wear or art you eat.”

An hour after doing the drop, CrownKeepers posts location hints via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using #WeArtTheWorld.

Clues come in the form of riddles and images. For example, the caption to an image posted to Instagram read, “The school is all about the arts; why not get some goodies?” The bag had been placed at Northwest School of the Arts on Beatties Ford Road.

Another bag’s clue was in the photo itself: prominently displayed in the background was a Johnson C. Smith University building, with the bag itself shown in the foreground. The caption read: “Now, this looks familiar…”

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A third clue was captured via video, showing the bag in front of a Historic South End sign, then panning to show the former Blush Boutique across the street.

The presents have also been left at a bus stop, a library and in the field where Food Truck Friday was formerly held in South End (insert moment of silence for the original Food Truck Friday).

CrownKeepers always revisits the location a few hours after a drop to make sure the bag has been taken, and so far, they are batting a thousand: all of the bags now have new owners.

Interns often assist Davita Galloway and Dion Galloway in assembling the bags. Shown here are intern Travis Barnes and CrownKeepers board member, Clarissa Brooks.
Interns often assist Davita Galloway and Dion Galloway in assembling the bags. Shown here are intern Travis Barnes and CrownKeepers board member, Clarissa Brooks.

Janelle Garcia was one of the lucky finders of the bags during a drop last year. “I was so excited when I found the bag because I felt like someone was investing in my love for art,” she said. She said she freestyled a design using the supplies and canvas she received.

“For some [finders], the bags unlock the door to a magical world of discovery,” Galloway said. “For others, the bags represent a sign of hope – that their talent isn’t an accident and it should be pursued, vigorously.”

The creation of the bags has been made possible thus far with donations from Charlotte’s patrons of the arts.
The creation of the bags has been made possible thus far with donations from Charlotte’s patrons of the arts.

If you’re ready to be feel the creative energy yourself, keep your eyes peeled – the next drop is today Sept. 30, the same day as the artist feature show “I’m An Artist, Dammit” at Galloway’s retail location, DUPP&SWAT.

If you found one of these bags, what would you create?

Photos: Davita Galloway

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