ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Lauren Fraser hides her tiny art all over St. Petersburg.
“This part makes me nervous,” Fraser laughs, placing a funky portrait of the “old” pier on a downtown parking meter.
The 33-year-old artist known as “Bead the Burg” recreates famous Sunshine City icons using mini Perler beads.
She then hides her quirky artwork on Free Art Fridays, leaving a clue of the tchotchke’s whereabouts on her Instagram page.
“I get nervous because I’m afraid people are going to see me then run up and take the art!” Fraser says.
That is not so far-fetched.
With help from friends like writer-photographer Valerie Niager and her coworkers at Green Bench Brewing, Fraser turned Bead the Burg into a hot scavenger hunt in a city where art rules.
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She originally thought of calling the project “St. Beadersburg.” And yes, there are “annoying” beads all over her house.
Fraser says her free artworks are found “about 10 to 15 minutes after I drop them.”
She got the idea for Bead the Burg while living in Atlanta. After she made playful Perler portraits of her coworkers here at Green Bench, the game was officially afoot.
“I think it’s nice for people to be able to give art away because it’s such an important cultural institution,” says Fraser. “Plus finding free things is amazing! If you find a quarter on the ground, you get excited!”
You can meet Fraser and make your own Bead the Burg self-portrait at Green Bench Brewing on February 11 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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