Award #66: Free Art PGH

Who loves a scavenger hunt? Certainly count Ian Jones as an avid fan.

Jones, a seasoned local photographer who moved to Pittsburgh ten years ago, touts the Steel City as his great artistic motivator. He takes the idea of a scavenger hunt one step further with a community wide movement he coined Free Art PGH.


Working with local artists, Jones organizes “drops” around Pittsburgh, planting free prints in various locations for participants to find. Followers learn of drop days and garner clues through Jones’ Instagram account @freeartpgh, where he ultimately posts a picture of the artist’s free print and the story behind it.

Jones explained, “It’s been a way to bring the art community together and get people outside. It’s a way for the artists to promote themselves and allow people to know who they are and appreciate their work.” He has witnessed firsthand the joy found art can have on people.

Awesome Pittsburgh Trustee Lulu Orr concurs:

The importance of art in the community can’t be emphasized enough. Even spreading little bits of art throughout Pittsburgh will make people think and react, and most likely express happiness. Truly awesome!

As winner of an Awesome Pittsburgh grant, Jones plans to grow this movement of bringing free art to the community and tapping into the passion of local artists. More art drops are constantly being planned.