How To Guide for the Curiosity Passport
What is the Curiosity Passport?
The Curiosity Passport is an art adventure for all ages! It promises to inspire play and exploration of the area.
It is more than just an art installation, more than just a scavenger hunt. It fuses art with adventure. It encourages participants to join in a scavenger hunt for letterboxes hidden around the area. It has two components:
The art installation of Eco-Art Curiosity Boxes representing each landmark in the project. They include mini-mosaics, upcycled from used plastic gift cards and upcycled assemblage art.
Pick up a Passport and follow the clues to find hidden additional art, in the form of letterboxes, at the locations that inspired the Eco-Art Curiosity Boxes (can you match them up?)! Inside each hidden letterbox is a handcarved stamp that represents the landmark.
What is a letterbox?
Atlas Quest has a wonderful explanation to many letterboxing questions. Here you will find the super-basic explanation, so that you can get out & explore ASAP!
A letterbox is a hidden box with a logbook & a handcarved stamp inside. Clues to the Curiosity Passport letterboxes are available here.
How do I find a letterbox?
To find a letterbox, first you need to get a clue! Clues to the Curiosity Passport letterboxes are found at CuriosityPassport.com and AtlasQuest.com. Then, follow the clues, find the box, stamp or write in the box’s logbook and use the box’s stamp in your passport. You get to walk away with a little image of your adventure!
How do I agree to the Waiver of Responsibility and Disclaimer?
"If you follow clues for any box listed on Atlas Quest [all Curiosity Passport boxes are listed on Atlas Quest.],you are implicitly agreeing to the Waiver of Responsibility and Disclaimer. There is no button to click to formally agree to it--let's face it, most people click "Agree" to just about anything without reading it anyhow. We don't want to waste your time like that, but if you do follow any clues to boxes listed on Atlas Quest, you've implicitly agreed to them whether you wanted to or not!"
Who hides letterboxes?
In the case of the Curiosity Passport, eco-artist / adventurer Alexis Webb Bechtold "planted" (a.k.a placed) them in their hiding spots & posted the clues online. However, anyone can plant a letterbox.
What is atlasquest.com?
Atlas Quest is a great online resource for all things letterboxing. You can view clues here. Many people choose to become a member (membership is free, however there are paid options as well) to enjoy the fun digitally recording their finds & such. This is also a good way to get in touch with the "Planter."
Who can participate in the Curiosity Passport?
The Curiosity Passport is designed for everyone to be able to participate. Alexis has tried to make this experience as accessible as possible. This is not intended for just locals or just visitors. It is not intended for just kids or just adults. It can be good for a date night or a family outing or even just an "I'm bored & want to explore somewhere new." kind of day by yourself
Why should I participate in the Curiosity Passport?
It is fun to explore areas that you might not have visited (or even knew existed) before. If you do already know an area or landmark well, invite a friend to participate with you! Show them your favorite site on the Curiosity Passport!
What do I need to bring when finding the letterboxes?
A letterboxing kit can be as simple or as robust as you prefer. To start your kit it is nice to have:
logbook / Passport
ink - either an ink pad in your favorite color or just a marker
clue to the box - if you have a smartphone, you can just pull up the clue on there.
signature stamp *optional, but darn fun to make & use!*
What is a signature stamp?
"A signature stamp is a unique stamp that represents yourself in some manner, and can be stamped into logbooks you find to show you've been there. Most letterboxers will urge you to create a hand-carved stamp rather than a store-bought one because we enjoy seeing what others can create. No artistic talent necessary! Carving a stamp is surprisingly quick and easy to do with the right guidance and tools, and our stamp carving tutorial is an excellent place to get started. Many first-time letterboxers, too eager to get out and start finding letterboxes before carving a signature stamp, will use their thumbprint. Many experienced letterboxers who forget to bring their signature stamp have been known to use this method as well!"
Where can I get a Passport? How much do they cost?
Curiosity Passports are handmade by Alexis Webb Bechtold for YOU! They are available to order on Etsy at Buttonwood Art Space, in person from Alexis or [Coming Soon!] at the front desk at Pawn & Pint.
Official Passports are only $5! You do not need one to participate, but this is one simple way to support this art project, if you find value in it.
When will the Curiosity Passport letterboxes be available?
The Kansas City Curiosity Passport letterboxes will be available beginning September 21, 2018. Alexis Webb Bechtold will maintain the boxes as well as she can throughout 2018-2019.
Where do I find the clues to the Curiosity Passport letterboxes?
The full menu of the Kansas City Curiosity Passport letterboxes & associated links can be found here.
What if something is wrong with a letterbox?
If you find a box in need of maintenance, please either contact Alexis through AQ mail (you must be a member of Atlas Quest to utilize AQ mail) or you may contact her through the "Contact" tab at the top of this page. Please let her know the box title & number, as well as the issue you found.
What if a Curiosity Passport letterbox goes missing?
Alexis has committed to replacing every letterbox once. If the replacement letterbox goes missing, she will find a new landmark to highlight & place a letterbox there instead. The original (then, missing one) will be designated in the Eco-Wall of Curiosities & a new art box will be added to the collection.
What if I meet someone else who is letterboxing while I am letterboxing?
Cool! If you feel comfortable, you might like to introduce yourself. Many letterboxers like to do an "exchange." An exchange is when you stamp your signature stamp into the other letterboxer's logbook & vise versa. If you don't want to meet new people while letterboxing, that is perfectly acceptable too.
What materials were used to make the mini-mosaics & Eco-Art Curiosity Boxes?
The mini-mosaics are made by upcycling used plastic gift cards, on birch tree slices.
The Eco-Art Curiosity boxes were created from many materials:
All of the photographs are by Alexis Webb Bechtold & printed on recycled paper.
The boxes are found objects (cigar boxes, clock bodies, etc) either given to the artist by friends, family or businesses, or were purchased from a Kansas City local cigar store who strives to help divert waste from the landfill.
Any other purchased items are used items from ScrapsKC and Hillcrest Thrift Stores. The proceeds of both of these stores further benefit the Kansas City area homeless population and educators. They also help divert used products from the landfill.
May I purchase a mini-mosaic or Eco-Art Curiosity Box?
YES! The pieces that are in the galleries are part of a collection that will be permanently on display for the duration of that Curiosity Passport. However, if one or more of them catches your eye & calls your name, simply contact Alexis to request those designs. There are a few things to know before ordering:
These are made-to-order. Your order may take up to 2-3 weeks.
Each mini-mosaic is created by hand from used gift cards & slices of birch wood. This means that there will be differences in each piece of artwork, because they are made by hand and possibly because the materials are limited.
Each Eco-Art Curiosity Box is also created by hand using found objects and salvaged cigar boxes. These are not materials that are bought new from a warehouse overflowing with abundance. YOUR Eco-Art Curiosity Box will be similar to the one in the gallery, in shape and size & overall look. The location's photograph will also be the same as the one in the gallery.