Love Letters to Your Neighborhood: 5 (Perfectly Legal) Guerilla Art Projects for the Whole Family

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5. Waiting on a Friend

The best listeners are imaginary friends, which is handy for someone like me. I have a lot to say. Apparently, I’m not alone; the cardboard cutout “friends” I make always have plenty of company when they are positioned in public spaces. I embellish a simple body-tracing with paints, markers, or other decorative materials on hand—then tie them with twine to a bench or chair. Anywhere someone might need an attentive ear is a good place for a friend. These figures are great photo-ops, and usually make several rounds in front of local businesses before being spirited away forever. 

A few critics have suggested that “leaving love letters to my neighborhood” does not constitute true Guerilla Art, as I lack a social or political agenda, and because I am not making a permanent impact with such temporary installations. I argue that it is. And that I do. Showing a community that it is worthwhile—worth the time and effort to make something pretty or cheerful then willingly give it away—this, to me, is an agenda of hope. During the best of times, love letters serve to remind us how special our connections are, but during harder times, those of “Big Fights” and division or any of life’s many other pressures, they can be threads that knit us back together. 

Please join in this rebellious little dance between “maker” and “taker.” You will get to be an active participant in the design of your surroundings and affect the quality of the day, inspiring others to notice, to look deeper, and to appreciate a space in a new and positive way. Your neighborhood will love you back, not only for the temporary burst of joy your art brings, but for giving in a way that nurtures future givers. Even though they are invisible, the threads you knit with your art will become a part of a tapestry, a weaving that permanently connects the members of a stronger and more enchanting town.

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