project image
Janie Ledford

first performed on February 1, 2013
on the streets of downtown Greensboro, NC
performed six times in 2013


Greensboro & Boone, NC


In “Dreams for Free” I ask people to share their hopes and dreams with me in exchange for a chance at winning millions of dollars. I am interested in finding out what people’s dreams are if they suddenly increased their wealth by millions of dollars.

On separate occasions, I buy a stack of 50 Mega Million lottery tickets and proceed to hand them out to people I meet in public places such as city streets, transportation centers, parks, festivals and laundromats. These individuals write down their dreams for what they would do with the winnings. I expected dreams that we might consider outlandish such as:

“Buy a baby tiger.”

“Build a roller coaster between favorite coffee shop, my house and my favorite bar.”

But instead I was overwhelmed by the amount of dreams that would enable people to meet their basic needs, like Larry from Gibsonville, NC who would:

“Help people like myself who have no home.”

Or King from Greensboro, NC who hopes:

“No person in Greensboro goes to bed hungry.”

The amount of people who, when contemplating what they would do with millions of dollars, wanted to pay off debts, have a home, a working car and an education was truly surprising. After meeting hundreds of people and learning their dreams, I am in awe of how many people are dreaming of survival and not having to worry about having their basic needs met. I am an artist and an educator with two small children. I struggle to make ends meet. I thought I had an awareness of others’ challenges. This project taught me that I am just one person with my view of the world and how important it is to get to know more about the people who surround us.