Artists get the drop on area with “Brookhaven Art Drop”

Published 9:14 pm Thursday, May 30, 2019

Little artsy fairies are dropping original artwork around town for people to find and frame.

OK, so they’re not fairies. They’re artists with a cool idea they hope will catch on this summer and continue throughout the year.

It’s called Brookhaven Art Drop and it’s open to anyone of any level of artistic aptitude — from stick figures on wobbly uneven legs to masterpieces.

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Recent finds included Ariel, the red haired mermaid, who was nestled among the fronds of a potted fern outside a downtown Brookhaven office. A watercolor makeup compact hid in the greenery of the matching plant on the other side of the door.

The two pieces —  by artists Stevie Bullock and Derek Covington Smith, respectively — were part of the first drop of 22 pieces that were hidden and hopefully found soon after. Several artists gathered Wednesday at The Little Yellow Building, which is Smith’s art studio, to paint more for another drop.

Officially, the Brookhaven Art Drop is a group of local artists who hide art at various public and community locations around Brookhaven.

Unofficially, it’s a fun project that anyone can participate in. Here’s how it works:

1. Draw a picture and hide it somewhere.

2. Take a photo of either the art or the hiding spot or a combination of both.

3. Post the image, the city you dropped it in, and a hint on any social media of your choice. Be sure to included the hashtag: #BrookhavenArtDrop

4. Then move on, hoping someone finds it, or hang around and meet your new friend.

Smith created a Facebook page, Brookhaven Art Drop, so artists can post the photos of the art and a hint to where they hide it and also for the person who finds it to post a photo or note.

Smith, who volunteers his art studio on Hwy. 51 as a meeting place, first learned about art drops from Bullock, a stay-at-home mom who is also a working illustrator and portrait artist with international clientele.

“Stevie started doing this a while back,” he said. “One of my best friends from high school’s daughter found one and posted it on Instagram. So I immediately messaged her (Bullock) and I was like, ‘What is this and why don’t I know about it?’”

Bullock clued him in on it and they decided to do it in Brookhaven.

She said she got the idea for it from an artist she follows who draws for Disney. He hides some of his original sketches around Disney World for people who are fans of his art to find.

“I thought that was a really cool idea,” she said. “I don’t have a huge fan base here but it would still be really cool for something in a small town for artists to do and maybe get families involved. It’s like a little miniature scavenger hunt.”

Smith’s goal for the project is to give a little bit more accessibility to art.

“It’s just a really amazing way to make art accessible,” Smith said.

“You can get original art for free. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it,” Bullock said.

They both hope this will encourage someone to embrace their inner artist.

“At least to see that there’s other people out there doing stuff,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest help of all is to watch and realize that you’re not the only person out there that wants that one thing.”

“You don’t have to be an amazing artist to do this,” Bullock said Wednesday night at The Little Yellow Building as she sketched a Corgi from a photo she’d found on Pinterest, and Beth Breland, the self-described non-artist in the group, raised her hands in triumph. Breland, a nurse at Mamie Martin Elementary, enjoys coming to the Art Drop sessions to paint for relaxation.

“You have a bad day? Come do art,” she explained. “You have a good day? Do happy art. Not everyone has to be an artist to come and do art.”

“I like it when kids find mine. They get so excited,” said Laura Nance, an art teacher at Higgins Middle School in McComb. “Like they have a treasure.”

Anyone can draw, Bullock said.

“My kids drew stick figures and monsters and they had a blast,” she said.

Smith supplies postcard-sized heavyweight card stock. Drawings can be in pencils, tempura, acrylics, pen and ink. Participants are encouraged to bring their own supplies.

Artists typically do three pieces at each session — two to hide and one to keep.

Each piece goes into a protective sheet cover with a card identifying it as “Brookhaven Art Drop Free Art” with information about the artist and that person’s social media information.

Pieces are hidden all over.

“I encourage everybody to take their own when they go home and drop it off somewhere where you travel. That way, the person getting your art travels in the same circles that you travel. You just missed them,” Smith said. “Whenever you post a picture, always give a hint to where you put it so people can find it and hopefully they’ll find it within an hour to three hours.”

Those who find the art are asked to post on the Brookhaven Art Drop Facebook page.

The Brookhaven Art Drop meets at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at The Little Yellow Building at 813 Hwy. 51 next to Brookhaven Monument. Call Smith at 601-754-3600 to make sure there’s room. While he’ll save space at the paint-stained table for anyone who wants to participate, the art drop pieces can be created anywhere by anyone.