"FREE PASS”: two words that can communicate simple compassion. Who needs the grace of a free pass now and again? Almost everyone.
Think about your day, and even the last few hours. Has there been a moment where you’ve given yourself a hard time or been in a frustration? Have you interacted with a loved one or stranger who is stressed, is doing the best they can, feels disengaged from forgiveness or needs simple affirmative respite of some kind? Need a free pass…?
The social practice of the Free Pass Project is the activation of spontaneous compassion and conversation. Spontaneous compassion (in Version 1.0) is set in motion with a handcrafted ‘free pass token’ passed from one person to another. Following up by sharing the conversation or story with others about this compassion interaction adds a layer to our understanding of things we share, and things we may not. (Read a free pass story)
It’s as easy as posting to the site here, dropping an email or with the IG account @freepassproject. Sharing with others what the compassion intervention was helps us create a compassion archive.
If you’ve just found or gotten a Free Pass Project token, your token has unlocked a story or two. Adding your story here, gets it sent to me, Rachel, the lead artist, and posted with permission.
Those times when you allow a car to merge in front of you in traffic, frequently that driver will have felt that goodness and then do the same. That positive behavior is a default in our chemistry that often gets squelched, over looked or is just hard to maneuver. The Free Pass Project is a way to creatively engage for all of us to, in a given moment, be our best self.
Cashier at the coffee shop having a bad day? Gift them a free pass token. The reward of a compassionate observation, behavior and acknowledgement shifts our mood in a positive and energizing way. It generates buoyancy and ultimately impacts community well being. This is your art.
To date there are over 1,800 Free Pass Project tokens in at least 30 states and a multitude of countries on other continents. Guessing that a token has engaged an average of at least three people: at 5,400 people have been citizen artists in this social practice! More stories and photos, here.
2014 magazine article from the early days of the Free Pass project...
Some other free pass exchanges to date can be found here...
Some of my own experiences and stories as the lead artist out there 'Free Pass-ing', and other ways I'm being creatively impacted by the work.
Since the launch of this social practice art, funding has come from the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts in collaboration with Assets for Artists/MASS MoCA, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and individual patrons such as yourself. There are optional ways to support my work for as little as $1.00 a day, to $100.00 a month. And everywhere in between.
Fractured Atlas - Patreon - Venmo
Fractured Atlas contributions can be tax deductible. Patreon provides unique content to patrons once at least five patrons are active. Venmo (via the Florence Poetry Carnival) is unrestricted and probably easiest for us both.
Rachel Cyrene Blackman