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Final-day hopefuls queue up at The Free Art Fair.

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A lucky few who turned up at the right time were able to walk away from The Free Art Fair with the work of their choice under their arm.

The initiative was a bold move on the part of Joffe, who, from October 8-13, invited people to view the art and register for a chance to acquire a work for nothing. At the end of the week it was a matter of first-come-first-served among those who had registered.

The idea caught on fast with people queuing up overnight in sleeping bags for the final day.

The only downside was when one person played against the rules and stole a piece of artwork before the week was over.

The fair was staged in three empty shops at 5, 8 and 21 Seymour Place, where Joffe displayed 25 artists' work worth a total of over £40,000.

And it was not just the art that was free. In fact Joffe organised and ran the event without any money being exchanged all week.

The venue came free, together with the printing of posters, magazines and leaflets. And there was strong community support, with local businesses offered free assistance. On launch day Patisserie Valerie provided free cakes, Philglas and Swiggot supplied wine and local Japanese restaurant Mura put on a spread of sushi.

Even the artists donated their work for nothing and those who ran the event worked as volunteers. Some of the artists who donated their work turned up on the last day to assist the lucky ones.

"They helped carry paintings and gave advice on handling the artwork," said Joffe.

With Frieze attracting rich collectors to London, Joffe explained his thinking behind The Free Art Fair to ATG: "I thought we should do something different and non-commercial from what everyone else is doing at this time of year.

"People often have a cold feeling towards art as they know that they can never own it. At this fair they could look at the pieces in a different way because they actually had an opportunity to have the artwork. It opens a debate about the value of art."