Sarah Sandman and Melissa Small are pedaling across the United States on a unique bicycle tour the call “Gift Cycle“. Their goal is to connect artists across the country by relaying art from one community to another.
Participating artists are asked to create a work of art for another artist they have never met. Rather than being packaged and mailed, the work is delivered in the care of two messengers traveling by a human-powered vehicle, called the Gift Cycle. The Gift Cycle is journeying cross-country from Providence, Rhode Island to Seattle, Washington this summer, making stops at community art centers along the way.
The project was partially inspired by the Lewis Hyde book The Gift: “I began to see art itself as a gift, that through the circle of gift we can strengthen and link communities,” Sandman, a former Lawrence resident, said.
Sandman and Small are riding recumbent bicycles and towing trailers to carry the artwork from city to city. At each of their designated stops, they’ll give away artwork from the previous city, as well as collect artwork to pass along to the next town. Due to the space constraints, they collect primarily unframed two-dimensional art that is 24-by-36 inches in size or smaller. Anyone can participate in the art exchange.
The traveling art show plans to reach Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday, July 12th, bearing gifts from artists in St. Louis. They’ll distribute the gifts, then collect work from local artists to carry on to their next event in Breckenridge, Colorado.
You can meet Sandman and Small at the Dotdotdot Artspace, 1910 Haskell Ave. in Lawrence, from 6pm to 9pm.
After Lawrence, the duo continue their tour with overnights in Emporia, Newton, Nickerson, Larned, and Scott City, before heading on into Colorado. The hope to reach Seattle by the end of August, then travel by train back to Providence to complete the cycle.
You can read more about the tour at GiftCycle.org, and follow their progress on their blog. They’re also looking for housing along the way, so if you live in one of their overnight stops, and can help them out, please contact them via their web site.