Picture this: You’re on your daily stroll through your neighborhood. As you round the corner, you see a house with a post holding a clear cabinet. Oh, a little library for the neighborhood, you think as you approach the box. Only when you get closer and peer inside do you realize that it’s not filled with a selection of used books. Rather, it’s a miniature art gallery, complete with everything you would expect from an afternoon at your favorite museum.
This is a very real display in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood created by artist Stacy Milrany. It’s called the Little Free Art Gallery and was inspired by the nonprofit organization Little Free Library, which makes book-sharing boxes.
According to an interview with CNN, Milrany was inspired to create this display due in part to the pandemic, “During this pandemic, everybody has been trying to find ways to bring more light to each other, to bring some hope, to create more fun, especially through creative ways to connect with each other when we’ve been physically cut off.”
Similar to the Little Free Library concept, Milrany’s Free Little Art Gallery encourages passers-by to take paintings they feel connected to and for local artists to add their own original works. Her opening piece was titled “Cat Hair”, but within days 10 pieces had already come and gone. Now the gallery has become so successful that it typically changes five times per day, with some neighborhood spectators making a point to visit the gallery multiple times per day.
Since the gallery opened, over 100 original works of art have been displayed and claimed by visitors. The works displayed have ranged a variety of styles from traditional oil paintings to sculptures and collages. Milrany has also documented the progress on her Instagram account, making a point to tag local artists (if they leave their info) to help spread the word about their work.