Arts: Papergirl Columbus

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

On the day when thousands will head to the Short North to take in art at Gallery Hop, art will be coming directly to a lucky few.

This weekend brings the first Papergirl Columbus event, a combination of biking get-together and art giveaway that works like a paper route. Donated works of art will be presented in a gallery show on Friday, then randomly distributed for free on Saturday afternoon throughout the Short North, Grandview and other areas by volunteers on bikes.

The Papergirl idea started in Berlin in 2006 with artist Aisha Ronniger, who was looking for a way for street artists to share their work without incurring the wrath of police. It has since spread internationally, with Papergirl events popping up everywhere from San Francisco to Bucharest.

Papergirl Columbus organizer Kate Dowell of the ARTillery art collective first read about it in an art blog that covered the Papergirl day in Albany, New York.

"From there I discovered there's a whole community online," she said. "The ARTillery site has links to other pages from about 20 cities, and it's growing."

Local artists donating pieces to the event include Mike Bush, Jay Moffett, Heather Wirth, Lisa McLymont, Adam Brouillette and Dowell, who is sharing one of her meticulous anatomical illustrations. The only guideline for submissions is that works have to be small and flexible enough to fit in a standard poster tube.

An open call for entries also yielded poetry and short stories, and a mailed-in piece from Rene Scheer, a Papergirl organizer in Hamburg, Germany.

"That's one of my favorite parts about this," Dowell said. "You think you know who you're going to get work from, and something from Germany shows up."

Junctionview Studios will host the preview show Friday, with one or two pieces from each contributing artist hung clothesline-style. The rest will already be packed away in decorated poster tubes for the next day, when more than a dozen volunteers will hand off the work to people on the street and leave surprises on others' doorsteps.

Riders will have identifying flags, and tubes will include information about the concept to counter any suspicion surrounding strangers offering gifts. But those who know about the event are all too eager to take one of Papergirl's packages.

"I've already had people ask if they can get a delivery," Dowell said, adding, "No stalking of the bike folks."

See all the art:

7-10 p.m. Friday, May 6

Junctionview Studios

889 Williams Ave., Grandview