PaperGirl movement gifts art to unsuspecting pedestrians
Fixated on the computer screens in room 107 of the NAU School of Communication, members of the visual communication design collaboration class are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their most recent project, PaperGirl.
The movement originated in Germany in 2006, where young women rode around the streets of Berlin on bicycles, messenger bag in tow. Instead of delivering newspapers, however, the “paper girls” sped past unsuspecting individuals on the streets, handed them an original piece of artwork and fled the scene quickly, leaving the receiver in total shock.
“It was actually our instructor who introduced us to the movement,” said Natalie Jessup, a fifth-year computer imaging and graphic design student. “He kind of pushed us into it and we ended up falling in love with the whole idea.”
Since the movement’s launch in Berlin, PaperGirl has spread to numerous other cities including San Francisco and Seattle. Jessup said that Flagstaff has just the right atmosphere for such a movement to latch on. For the assignment, members of the class used their graphic design skills to spread awareness about the event.
“I knew it was going be the last project of the semester, so we all decided to design posters and fliers to get the word out,” said Rochelle Hart, a junior graphic design and visual communication student. “I’m from Flagstaff, so I went to my old high school and middle school to promote the PaperGirl project and collect art. Our overall goal is to show that art is still alive and it’s fun to receive art from an unknown artist. We want to share the fact that everybody has a unique style to their art.”
Local and student artists donated pieces of their work from April 23-30 to a submissions box in the NAU School of Communication. On May 4, the contributions will be distributed arbitrarily to people on the streets of Flagstaff.
“The goal is to spread the art and give people random gifts — on the websites of other PaperGirl projects they call them gifts,” Jessup said. “We want to spread our joy and our love for art and pass that out to the community.”
Both Hart and Jessup are optimistic about the future of PaperGirl and hope to make it an annual event in Flagstaff.
“I just really hope that our instructor, Chris Johnson, continues it with his other classes,” Jessup said. “And if not him, then maybe other people in our college or even in the college of art can start something.”
“With this being our first attempt, I’d love to have someone else continue it and maybe make it bigger and better next year,” Hart said.