I first encountered Keith Jensen‘s Free Art project in September. I passed by a piece of Seinfeld-inspired art in New York City on my way home from work. The sign atop declared:
If having this art will make your day better, then it’s yours.
Please only take this art if you’ll enjoy it. Please don’t resell.
If you have Instragram or Facebook, please post a photo and tag it. In not, it’s ok – just enjoy it.
I thought the whole concept was awesome, and I tweeted about it with @paintpenart. It occurred to me that Keith would be a great speaker for TEDxYouth@TheSchool in November, as he’s clearly doing something cool and inspiring and exemplified this year’s theme: Dream Big…Then Do It! I loved that Keith’s Free Art Project helped bridge the art-divide in a town where tickets to visit the Museum of Modern Art cost up to $25. Also, I learned that Keith is equally artistic and altruistic, and he volunteers at Art Start teaching art classes to homeless children. Keith’s TEDxYouth@TheSchool video is below:
Last week, Keith was part of The School at Columbia University’s inaugural Social Action Panel. He talked with our 8th graders about his work, art, motivations, and volunteering. At the end, Keith caused an audible buzz of excitement when he announced he’d be leaving a piece of his Free Art for a student to find. Below is his tweet and a shot of the lucky kid who had been checking @paintpenart’s Twitter feed all morning…
Saturday was the 3rd annual TEDxYouth@TheSchool. I am grateful for so many people who helped make this day a success:
The inspiring students, artists, performers, and activists who spoke to my community: Rebecca Marratta and Aidan Ryan, The School’s Concert Choir led by Rachel Klem, Gabriella Singh, Bree Person, Hannah Sachs, Finding Green NYC, Rodda John, Sophia Edelstein, Moranda Rasmussen, Devin Carthan, Matt Vorzimer, Laura Sjogren, Jacob Schmidt, Keith Jensen, Yadira De La Riva and Wade Colwell-Sandoval
Flik Independent School Dining (@FlikISDining) for providing breakfast and lunch
The School at Columbia University (@The_School) for hosting us and keeping us warm and secure
The support of our Head of School, Amani Reed, and our three Division Heads, Kathryn Kaiser (K-2), Kevin Fittinghoff (3-5) and Belinda Nicholson (6-8)
Monica Amaro, Charles Colten and Zoe Paraskevopoulos for helping to gather and prepare our speakers, and Katie Reimer and Lynette Wilson for assisting at the event
Claire Sexton for taking photos
Gina Marcel (@fpgina) for handling the video and livestreaming station
Don Buckley (@donbuckley) for helping me in all ways as usual
Katy Gartside (@katygartside) for live tweeting from the @TEDxYTheSchool account
Jazmin Sherwood for her organizational and problem solving skills
Kate Berten (@k8berten) for stepping in to lead Keith Jensen’s @paintpenart workshop as he has been out of town due to an evacuation by Hurricane Sandy
The students, parents, and guests who came and enthusiastically participated