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Treasure found in Clergue Park part of global art movement

Wendy McConnell stumbled across the free piece of art and it made her day

On Black Friday, Wendy McConnell was going for a walk through Clergue Park when she noticed something tied to a post. When she went closer, she realized that it was a painting, carefully wrapped in plastic and tied with a red ribbon. 

There was a note with the painting saying it was free. Being an art lover, McConnell couldn’t believe her good fortune and immediately took it home. 

“It felt amazing to find it. I wasn’t having the best day, and that surprise made it better. It was the element of surprise and the fact that someone would do this - take the time and effort to make a piece of art and then just leave it for someone else,” said the 71-year-old. 

The free art was part of a global art movement created by a group in the United States called “FLOOD the streets with ART!”. Participants around the world place their original artwork in public places as a gift for whoever finds it. The event takes place once a year on Black Friday. 

“The idea was that on Black Friday, in order to counter the commercialization of everyone rushing to stores, someone would just give something out for free,” McConnell said. “Their group has grown through the years and brings joy to people all over the world. The fact that we, here in the Sault, are participating in this worldwide effort to spread happiness is very uplifting.”

“I uploaded a picture of it to the FLOOD the streets with ART! Facebook page and I got 154 comments on it from other people. The idea is to upload a picture of whatever you find and share it with other people who have also found art. There are pictures from people all over the world. There are paintings, jewellery, Christmas decorations, and they’re all hand made.” she said. 

The painting McConnell found was created by local painter Nancy Norman, and she was grateful that what she stumbled upon suited her tastes so well. 

“It was the weirdest thing. I thought it was the most perfect piece of art,” McConnell said of the painting, which seems to be inspired by Monet’s Garden at Giverny. “It is absolutely my taste and it matches my bedroom perfectly. It couldn't have been more perfect.”

“In these times when people are stressed, there’s something sort of magical about finding something like this,” she said.