THE FLAG SHORT STORY
My appreciation of art, artists, creativity, combined with my love of the Little Free Libraries combined with the hope to shed a little light, levity and beauty on a heavy world and catastrophic year inspired this Free Little Art Gallery.
THE FLAG LONG STORY
The Free Little Art Gallery opened December 13th, 2020 but the idea for it goes back further.
In March of 2019, my mom started a 4 month chemo treatment. Living 3 hours away, I knew I couldn’t be with her most days. So I decided to mail her a little postcard-sized piece of art every single day of her treatment– something made by human hands to add some brightness to those dark days.
Others joined me and I hoped it would let her know she had a team of people (some of whom she didn't even know) on her side and thinking of her.
During her treatment she accumulated about 145 4"x 6" pieces filled with beauty and color containing sentiments of optimism, and sometimes pure ridiculousness.
In October we celebrated her cancer-free-ness with a little “Stayin’ Alive” party where the Bee-Gee's played in the background. Video below is from that day.
Cut to March of 2020 when the world was being asked to stay at home and hide from each other. I wondered if I could offer the same sort of thing to more people.
Again I started making postcard-sized pieces of art and mailing them via USPS to friends and family. Then offered them to followers on Instagram. It was an attempt to bring some light and levity to others during such an uncertain time. And certainly a personal coping strategy to deal with being cut off from the world.
These small works and my longtime love of the Little Free Libraries eventually led to the idea for a little gallery. I first called it the Little Free Art Gallery. Recently I've changed the name to Free Little Art Gallery. (An effort to distinguish it a bit from the Little Free Libraries Org. Plus "FLAG" seems preferable to the "LFAG")
It’s certainly not the first one out there in the world but I couldn’t find an example of what I was envisioning. I saw it as a contemporary art gallery or museum—with simple clean lines, white walls, a natural wood floor, and of course a bench in the middle of the gallery.
In the fall I drew some rough plans and asked a good friend if he’d help me build it. He agreed—even to the four inch bench.
In October he handed off the structure — I painted, sealed and added a few more details. Two neighbors with the posthole diggers and the knowhow to install it helped out. It sits in the parking strip, about a foot away from the sidewalk.
I opened the gallery with an editioned print of one of my pieces titled, “Cat Hair”. In the fist 30 days about 90 pieces from various people had come and gone.
Art is many things. Among them is simply proof of human existence. And when we’re cut off from one other, as we have been during this pandemic, it's more important than ever. It's serves as a another reminder that when we can’t be physically near each other, we’re still here together sharing this common human experience called life.
I believe that more art should be more accessible to more people– paintings, poems, song, and dance––these personal expressions of our “human-ness” and I hope this little gallery might contribute to that little dream.
The Daily Dose of Art Project
These tiny works began a year ago when I, along with many friends, started mailing my mom a small piece of art every day for the duration of her chemo treatment. (For proof that art cures cancer, see video below.)