Making People Smile, More Often
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Making people smile, more often

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Retired Times of India correspondent; associated with a Mysore green group -
It may be bit of a tall order - getting people to smile, and spread cheer, in trouled times such as the present economic meltdown. But it hasn’t deterred Bren Bataclan from trying. In fact he has made it one of his life’s social missions to engage, literally, people on the street to spread a bit of cheer around their neighbourhoods. And here is how he goes about doing it.

Boston-based ’smile artist’ Bren Bataclan leaves his paintings around in public places for the taking. The catch is in the note stuck to his paintings, which says, ‘This painting is yours, if you promise to smile at random people, more often’.

Folks who pick them up are asked to e-mail Bren how and where they found his painting and what they felt about his idea. The Filipino-American calls his excercise Smile Boston Project. In his website Bren says he leaves his paintings at employment agencies, hospitals, stores and commercial estabishments that are about to close down under recession. Folks who frequent these places need cheering up. And the ones who pick up Bren’s paintings feel obliged to walk the extra mile to spread smiles around them. Bren says the purpose of his paintings, and rather the unique way of their disposal, is to make people in Boston and beyond smile more.

A graphics designer with masters degree in computer animation Bren reportedly turns out 25 paintings every week to be placed at sidewalks, park benches, airport terminals, trains, senior citizens’ centers etc. His cartoon-like paintings have found their way to many US cities and abroad. It is said Bren has had his friends carry his paintings to be placed on public space in New York, San Francisco, Djibouti, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and his native Manila.

It’s about giving, sharing, and spreading smiles around, says Bren. His Smile Boston Project website makes a cheerful read , of feedback from follks who picked up his paintings; media reports, and blog posts. I reckon I am the 36th blogger to do a post on Bren Bataclan.