FIRST there were random acts of kindness, now a Blackburn artist is introducing random acts of art donation.

Alexandra Gallagher, 34, is calling out to creatives to take part in a global project that sees art given out to random passers-by smiley, happy people on bicycles.

She has signed Blackburn up to the Papergirl project, an art movement that has become a worldwide phenomenon.

The project, which originated in Berlin as a protest to graffiti laws, sees art collected from the local creative community, exhibited and then, in the style of American paperboys, rolled up and distributed by bicycle in public places.

Since it started in 2006, it has grown in popularity and now takes place in cities around the world including New York, Barcelona and Sydney.

Alexandra, from Redlam in Blackburn, decided to get involved after hearing about the Papergirl Belfast project.

“I came across it on a blog asking for artists to submit their work and loved the idea of sharing creative pieces especially the idea of giving a random passer-by a gift.

“I liked the idea that I could give someone something and it might brighten their whole day. It is simply the act of giving. Nobody is earning any money out of it and I like that too. It’s altruism at its best.

“I thought it would be a really positive project to bring to Blackburn, which would involve the whole community and bring art from all over the world.”

The mum of two, who is currently studying for a degree in painting, has shown her work in galleries across the country and in 2012 entered the Showdown competition run by Saatchi Art, in which she came second.

As a result her digital collage ‘Owl’ was exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery for a year before being sold.

Alexandra has also submitted some of her own creations to the Papergirl project and is calling for other artists to join her.

“It can be anything that is created from poems to prints, textile pieces to songs, photographs to collages, literally anything creative. And it’s open to anyone. So far we have had work from Spain, America and Canada.”

Alexandra’s work is on display in some of the most unusual places. She designed the changing rooms at the Bradley Street vintage clothing store in The Mall – it features a back alley and her inspiration was a space in Witton Street, Blackburn. She is currently working on decorating a bee sculpture for The Mall which is yet to be uncovered.

Her work has been described as a combination of fine and street art with more than a hint of surrealism. She paints, draws and uses photography and sometimes intertwines all three. She is currently exhibiting at a street art exhibition in London.

“I grew up in both the north and the south and there’s a big difference. I remember playing in the back streets of Bury and it seemed like another world. My work reflects this.”

Alexandra is also inspired by the internet and creates landscapes of what the cyber world may look like. “On the internet you can connect with anybody and you can be anybody. From the outset there is no race, no gender, no age limit. People use the internet for amazing things but also for the most dark and twisted things. My landscapes are the intellectual part of humanity rather than what we actually see.”

Papergirl Blackburn is backed by Blackburn Is Open, the Blackburn with Darwen Council scheme to support creatives and creative industries in the town. An exhibition of all donated artwork will be held at the shop opposite the town hall at the end of October prior to distribution in November.

Submissions to Papergirl Blackburn close on October 24 and must include a name, website and Papergirl Blackburn on the back.

They must be no larger than A3.

If anyone would like to volunteer to get into the saddle and make someone’s day then check out the info on the website.

But Alexandra won’t be joining in that part. “It must be 20 years since I rode a bike,” she laughs.

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