Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
Christy Harris, a local Ashland artist and entrepreneur, has a passion for artwork flowing through her veins.
“I’ve done art my entire life,” said Harris. “My parents are artists. I am an artist. I grew up watching what they do.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic came to Kentucky, Harris knew she had to do something to assist struggling artists like herself. So, she put a creative spin on scavenger hunts, allowing the community to hunt for artwork safely while abiding by social-distance guidelines.
Harris started a Facebook group online called Scavenger Art (Greater Ashland Area), where people hide artwork, and post riddles and clues for others to go find their art.
“A lot of artists like myself are really hurting right now, a lot of festivals are shut down and that’s how a lot of artists make their money,” said Harris. “This lets artists get their artwork out there, show their artwork, and it also lets the business they’re at get exposure as well. It’s fun for everyone.”
The guidelines for Scavenger ART (Greater Ashland Area) are:
•Artists choose a piece of artwork and wrap it in weatherproof covering and add a note with your website or logo and place it in a random location in the community (with the permission of that business).
•You then go to the Facebook group and leave a riddle or clues with the location of the artwork, and photo of that location (that does not give away too many details).
•Harris said if your artwork is not found you must go back and claim it, and it cannot be hidden anywhere that breaks any laws or encourages the seeker to do anything unsafe.
“Whenever people find it, they have to tag the artist, and the location where it was found,” said Harris. “If someone comes up and finds something of mine, they tag me online, and tag “Christy Harris Artwork,” then tag the location, and then they usually post a photo of where they found it. It is exposure for everyone. It is social engagement for everyone from a distance. It’s safe fun for everyone.”
Harris said people have reacted positive to the group.
“We have well over 1,000 members now,” said Harris. “It really caught on. In a little over 30 minutes, someone had already posted artwork and the artwork had been found. It just took off from there.”
Harris said at first it was just intended for artwork, but then that expanded to homemade bath bombs, candles, T-shirts, canvases, coloring books and crayons, kid’s craft sets, etc.
“We even had someone leave a cookie mix set at Dave’s Bakery,” said Harris. “I think it’s also really opened up people’s eyes to the amount of talent that is here that people didn’t even realize.”
Harris said that art is a positive and healing element that can be for everyone.
“To me, art is healing,” said Harris. “It’s fun. It can be nostalgic. When you have been in your home for a period of months and now you can go out in the community and connect with individuals and be with your community without physically being around them, it’s amazing.”
Harris said that even if you are not going to join the hunt, join the Facebook page.
“Scroll down the page,” said Harris. “I promise seeing all these posts will make you happy.”
Paula Profit, and her son Aiden Profit, are two immune compromised individuals who have not been able to leave the house often during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky. Thanks to the socially-distanced, yet safe, approach of the art group, both mother and son have had a blast seeking art throughout Ashland.
“My favorite part is seeing the excitement on his face when we are the first to find it,” said Paula Profit. “He is so happy to find the smallest piece of paper with other kids drawing or art. Aiden’s favorite is trying to see how many he can collect. He is using them as ways to learn how to draw and be creative like the art he finds.”
Harris said that she feels like it is important that people not forget their local artists.
Tiffany Charles Jobe is a local artist, who created a paint pour piece to hide. Jobe does several different types of paintings, but her pours are among the most popular.
“There is something special about having a piece of art from a local artist,” said Jobe. “Paintings, drawings, resin art, wood art…I could go on and on, but when we create these pieces, we create them with heart and soul. When you support us by buying one of those pieces, you are giving us the fire to create even more. And it is a very honoring thing when people think enough of your art to want to hang it in their home. You just don’t find that kind of passion and personality in art from Hobby Lobby.”
Jobe has also participated in the Scavenger Art as a seeker.
“It is exciting to do this with my family,” said Jobe. “We all get involved and make it a team effort. I love that I get to see so many creations; this area is full of talented artists.”
Jobe said that she had two favorite pieces that she has acquired through the scavenger art group, “Snowy Ashland” a picture taken by Josh Blanton, and a piece she found created by Christy Harris, which is a colorful half of a woman’s face.
“There are so many reasons this is a positive thing for our community,” said Jobe. “We are in unprecedented times and a lot of people are stuck at home and, at this point, don’t have much to look forward to. This group creates excitement and gives people something to look forward to. It’s a great way to get beautiful art that is created by members of this community. These are things that can be passed down from generation to generation and creates a sense of home pride.”
“Everything around you that you see, an artist has touched in some way,” said Harris.
Christy Harris Art can be found online on Facebook.com, and Harris accepts orders for art commissions and does mural work.