Make Art or Take Art at the Free Little Art Gallery
You can share your artistic talents or find tiny art to take home at Takoma Park’s first Free Little Art Gallery.
In a concept similar to little free libraries, the Free Little Art Gallery (FLAG for short), is a large box located next to the bus stop at 7667 Maple Avenue where anyone can donate small pieces of art or take art that they like. The box, which is stocked with art supplies, has two small galleries for displaying artwork, complete with easels and small figures admiring the art.
The interactive public art project is co-sponsored by the City of Takoma Park’s Arts and Humanities Division and the Operation ARTS Foundation.
“We’re very excited about our first Free Little Art Gallery,” said Brendan Smith, the City’s arts and humanities coordinator. “It provides motivation for people of all ages to create artwork and a public space where they can share it. The design of the little art gallery also celebrates our local Ethiopian community.”
The little art gallery features paintings of traditional Ethiopian woven reed bowls, burlap sections to highlight Ethiopia’s centuries-old connections to coffee, and a font inspired by the Amharic language.
Chyna Mae, Operation ARTS’ president and creative director, painted the little art gallery in Takoma Park, which is the fourth location in their Art MAGNET (Mini Art Gallery Neighborhood Entertainment Tour) project.
“We hope by fostering the ‘make art, take art’ movement, we can help bring people closer together by providing an arena where their stories can be heard and where they can experience the stories of their neighbors,” she said. “This project brings beauty, community creativity, collaboration, education, culture, and tourism to Takoma Park.”
An opening party was held on Oct. 30 where kids and adults made artwork on tiny canvases to fill the little art gallery. “It was wonderful connecting with the kids and families who came to the party, along with folks who were just walking by and stopped to make some art,” Mae said. “We filled the little art gallery in a few hours and are looking forward to seeing more artwork displayed there.”
The project was inspired by artist Stacy Milrany who created a little art gallery outside her home in Seattle two years ago to share art when many public spaces were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Little art galleries have sprouted up across the nation, including three in Washington, D.C. You can find more locations at findafreelittleartgallery.com.
Operation ARTS plans to build more little art galleries in other cities in Maryland. Go to operationarts.com for more info.
This article was featured in the December 2022 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.