John Freyer is an educator at VCU as well as an artist and an author. He has mobilized projects such as Free Ice Water, Free Hot Coffee, and Free Hot Supper in an effort to enrich social ties in the community. These art works art not traditional paintings in museums, but rather they are concept based and extend into the real world.
His Free Hot Coffee project began within an addiction support group called Rams for Recovery. In an effort to give back to the group which supported and encouraged him on his journey, he provided coffee for one of the meetings. His contribution gradually expanded and became more popular and now he has a bike with coffee stand attached allowing him to branch out into the city. He rides around the community, connecting with individuals and reducing the stigma around addressing addiction. I think this is a great idea, and I think especially in the winter, he could consider providing free hot chocolate or tea too if they wanted to further expand the operation.
I was also interested in the Free Ice Water project. This initiative involved sitting down with someone you may not know and having a conversation with them as you drank your glass of water. While this would definitely be out of my comfort zone, it would be a good exercise in connecting with new people and focusing on listening in the moment.
Unfortunately, I could not actually attend this lecture so I did not receive any free coffee or water, but I was still able to learn a lot by watching the lecture on video, and who knows, maybe I’ll see him somewhere on the streets of Richmond!
Sources to Explore
The official Fifty-Fifty website, which it the overarching organization that links all of Freyer's projects: http://fiftyfifty.country/
Freyer brought his Free Hot Coffee overseas, and you can learn more about his trip to London with this link: https://www.richmond.com/entertainment/art/richmond-artist-brings-his-free-hot-coffee-bike-to-london/article_585947ea-6931-5445-96dc-a068805d8979.html
I am a Maggie Walker art student in Richmond, Virginia. This blog section is a little window into my art process, research, and experiences. You can follow along with my journey as you scroll.