There’s one art gallery the pandemic hasn’t shut down. In the Queen Anne neighborhood, at the corner of 1st Ave North and Garfield Street, The Little Free Art Gallery offers its community a safe and creative way to appreciate art.
It’s on the smaller side for an art gallery—just 16 inches wide. It’s a small box at the top of a post, with one glass wall to protect the artwork from the elements while still letting passer-bys look in. The community has embraced the new addition to Queen Anne, and professional and amateur artists alike have contributed work. Pieces rotate through the gallery, as many as five or six at a time.
It’s like a Free Little Library for visual art instead of books. Just like Free Little Libraries, anyone can exchange art at Queen Anne’s Little Free Art Gallery. You can add an art piece, take a piece, or make an exchange. All mediums are welcome, as are all levels of artistic ability—so long as the art is smaller than a piece of copy paper.
Already, the gallery has included beautiful oil paintings on tiny 4″x6″ bits of canvas, as well as a 5″x7″ piece called “Sardine” by Scott Gibson, a well-known Seattle artist.
The gallery is the brainchild of Seattle artist Stacy Milrany. She describes The Little Free Art Gallery as “a public art experiment in progress.”
“I started it with one of my own pieces of art and didn’t know if anybody else would contribute,” she told KIRO Radio. “I put a little sign on it telling people what it’s about and very quickly, within the first day, there were three pieces that appeared. Somebody took the first piece that I had started with. I think we started just over two weeks ago and about thirty-five pieces have come and gone.”
Just one block away from Queen Anne Ave, the gallery receives a steady flow of foot traffic. “Sometimes [pedestrians will] spend a few minutes looking at it, taking pictures,” Milrany said, “and that’s the coolest thing. Like when people stop and slow down and appreciate art in a time when they weren’t expecting to at all.”
The The Little Free Art Gallery is a happy neighborhood surprise—proof that even during the pandemic, community happens.