Fredrica Smith. long shot write-in candidate for City Council Ward 5. announced this morning that she is dropping out of the race, leaving politics and returning to her true calling – art.

Said Fredrica “I still fervently believe in the importance of the issues that I was running on.   The city can and should do far more to support the arts in every aspect of its operations – K-12 education, public works, street and public space design”..

“Since I am not being allowed to join the city-run Ward 5 debates I realize that I have virtually no effective way to get my message out to the voters before the election  other than via my spectacular lawn signs – don”t you just love them?”

Note from Jerry Reilly:  Fredrica Smith does not actually exist.  

Fredrica’s life began last June, when 15 public sculptures were installed on the Upper Falls Greenway as part of a summer long art installation.   The following evening some friends and I created an unofficial 16th edition to the sculpture collection – The Money Tree by imaginary artist Fredrica Smith.   The Money Tree and “Fredrica” took on lives of their own over the summer – the Money Tree’s branches of realistic looking money were continually raided by the public, and then replenished by us at night.  Eventually we installed a video camera and created a video montage of people interacting with Fredrica’s Money Tree.  Through it all Fredrica had her own email address and received multiple emails including one from a neighbor asking that she create a painting of their house, which Fredrica did (with the help of Photoshop) and delivered anonymously as a gift to the homeowner. 

In September, the art show came down as scheduled, and Fredrica’s Money Tree came down with it.  Fredrica’s imaginary life also came to an end .. or so I thought.  In September at the Nomad Story Slam at the Hyde Playground I told the story of Fredrica and the Money Tree to the 50 or so guests and blew Fredrica’s secret identity publicly.

A few weeks ago I learned of the decision to include the losing candidate from September’s primary election in the upcoming Area Council debates – a decision  I strongly disagreed with for reasons outlined in this thread.  I thought that I could push back on that decision, and explore the committee’s rationale for that decision by bringing Fredrica back to life.  Fredrica became a 2nd write-in candidate for Ward 5 who also wanted to be included in the debate.

Fredrica wrote to the committee and requested to be included in the debate.  She put up a fairly skeletal campaign Facebook page.  She put up striking campaign lawn signs around Ward 5 that put all other political lawn signs to shame  – thanks to Upper Falls artist Shogun Curtis.

At this point, Fredrica has served her purpose and it’s time for me to once again publicly ‘out’ my mischievous female alter-ego, so everyone can get back to the real election without Fredrica’s confusions and distractions.  To anybody who was disturbed or upset by the misleading and the subterfuge, please know that no harm was intended.  Unfortunately though when Fredrica Smith gets an idea in her head, I Jerry Reilly have a hard time resisting going along with it.   She is a very persuasive woman.


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