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The Yankee Swap Pop-Up Shop

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What: Yankee Swap Pop-Up Shop
Where: 85 Free Street, Portland
When: December 7, 2012, 6:30PM-9:00PM
Contact: Paul Gebhardt, pgebhardt@meca.edu, John Rooks, jrooks@thesoapgroup.com

As part of the Art of Organizing: Connectivity & Culture class lead by Professor Paul Gebhardt, Maine College of Art students presents The Yankee Swap Pop Up Shop. The pop-up shop will open on Friday, December 7th from 6:30 to 9:00PM, as part of Portland’s First Friday Art Walk at 85 Free Street.

Students will be “selling” art in exchange for volunteer time in the true spirit of the Holidays season: giving.

“The idea behind the student project was to create an experience for consumers which offers them a moment to reflect on the meaning of consumerism, and to also expose them to the effort behind the art they purchase,” said Gebhardt.

Consumerism is rampant in America and shopping has become a new form of activism. Shopping, particularly “cause shopping” where a portion of proceeds go to support a charity, have become a replacement for civic engagement. This project allows consumers to volunteer a number of hours [half the time required to make the art] to family, friends, neighbors, or to a local community organization, in exchange for art created by MECA students.

“I love that it is undermining the great equalizer of capitalism: money,” said John Rooks, Founder of the SOAP Group and a community business partner in the project. “Instead of letting consumers off the hook, this project gives them the opportunity for real activism.”

The pop-up shop will include an interactive social media booth where purchases and time commitments are captured and posted to the event Facebook page. Consumers are encouraged to comment on the post referencing their “purchase” to encourage more giving, and to validate their actions.