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Ketchikan Uncovered: free art exchange connects people across the island

Have you ever been walking along, minding your own business, when you stumble upon something that seems a little out of place?

A red plastic bag peeking out from behind a statue, a beaded dragonfly perched on a low-hanging branch, or maybe even something that looks like trash, but after closer inspection turns out to be something beautiful?

Chances are, if you live in Ketchikan, this has happened to you.

Thanks to Marissa Hockema and her friend Jennifer Kinney, residents and visitors of Ketchikan are likely to happen upon half-hidden pieces of original art, placed lovingly by members of the Facebook group Ketchikan Random Acts of Art.

Hockema and Kinney started the group in April of 2016 after realizing that participation in a statewide free art-sharing program was impossible for those living on the island. Here’s Kinney.

“It totally blew up right away,” she said. “We took a few days, or a few weeks in the beginning, and we just pumped out as much art as we could and put it out in the community just to see what would happen, and it took off. And it was amazing.”

The premise, they said, is to make art and hide it somewhere around town. When you find art, you’re instructed to post in the Facebook group that you’ve found it. That’s the whole point, Hockema said.

“We have had a lot of younger people – and even some older people – that really get the joy out of knowing their art was appreciated or enjoyed,” she said.

I was really curious about what the process was like. So I asked Hockema if I could ride along with her on a recent outing to hide some of her art.

On a Friday afternoon, I climbed into the passenger seat of her big maroon truck. Inside sat Hockema’s art-hiding clan: her younger sister, Cassi, niece Taylor, and two young daughters, Makenna and Raeleigh. We headed north, toward Ward Lake.

“No, I don’t wanna do all the way around, because Makenna…

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