Artist gives away 1,000 pieces of art for Easter
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Starting in January, St. Charles, Mo. artist Zack Smithey started painting. And painting. And painting, until he had 1,000 pieces of art to give away this week.
"I've been here pretty much every day all day for the last three months," said Smithey.
Smithey wanted to give something back. The Easter Art Hunt is the artist's equivalent of a community hug.
"St. Louis is going through some hard times, especially after the Michael Brown incident," said Smithey. "St. Louis has a lot of healing to do. I just wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to bring people together for something positive and it doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, what's your race, you have the chance to find a piece of art."
Every day this week, Smithey is visiting local non-profits and businesses like Comm Tech Computer Services in St. Charles. He dropped off five acrylic paintings, then put the location on Facebook, where people find out the location and time of the daily art giveaways.
"My Facebook page is now starting to crash once a while," said Smithy, "it's overloaded."
His Facebook friends wasted little time. In about 5 minutes, all five paintings were claimed at the computer shop.
"Oh my gosh, thank you, this is a cool thing you're doing," said one woman, clutching her painting. "Very, very cool."
Another woman agreed. "It's amazing. I mean it's just kind of brought the whole community together for a wonderful event. I've never heard of Zack before, but now I'm really interested in his art and I know this is going to be a great thing for him, too."
Smithey is footing the bill for the Easter Art Hunt: $10,000 in materials, plus the money he could have made if he sold the art.
"It's an average of $500 apiece, so a half-million dollars worth of art that I'm giving away this week," said Smithey.
Smithey admits the publicity is nice, but even nicer to know how Santa Claus feels.
"I've never felt this good in my life," said the artist. "Everybody is loving this hunt. The more they love it, the more I love it."
Beginning Saturday at 4 p.m. people can bring their new paintings to Cicero's where Smithey will autograph them.
Click here to watch the news piece on the artist.