Petite pastels and shrimpy shell-art in Castine’s free little artwork gallery. Photograph courtesy of Rosemary Wyman.
By Adrienne Perron
From our December 2021 difficulty
When Kinthi Sturtevant purchased a quarter-acre plot of land on Excessive Avenue in Eastport final fall, she didn’t know what to do with it. She doesn’t stay in Eastport — or Maine, for that matter — however the retired IBM exec had fallen in love with the little metropolis whereas visiting a buddy, and she or he knew she wished to one way or the other become involved in its vibrant arts neighborhood. An beginner painter, the New York-based Sturtevant had loved taking her work to a “free little artwork gallery” in Brooklyn, and when her household advised she open a FLAG of her personal in down east Maine, she started working on the 3-foot-by-3-foot Little Ok Gallery.
FLAGs are much like the “little free libraries” which have popped up on lawns and in public areas nationwide within the final decade-plus (the nonprofit org Little Free Library has registered some 100,000 of them since 2012). However as an alternative of housing books, these small constructions are for artists and patrons to depart tiny artworks and/or discover one to take dwelling. So long as a chunk of artwork matches within the house, the medium doesn’t matter: finger work, sculptures, items of knitting, and ceramics have all popped up at Little Ok, which Sturtevant modeled to seem like “somewhat conventional Maine home.” And the gallery isn’t restricted to native artists — since Eastport’s FLAG went up in July, artists from so far as Washington, Texas, and Maryland have mailed work to Sturtevant’s Eastport-based buddy after connecting through Little Ok’s Instagram account (@little_k_gallery).
To listen to the Washington Publish inform it this summer season, FLAGs are principally materializing in arts-hub metros like Seattle, DC, and the San Francisco Bay space. Not so in Maine, the place Eastport’s is joined by one other in Castine, opened this summer season by Castine Arts Affiliation president Johanna Candy, subsequent to the city’s submit workplace on Predominant Avenue. An artist in Cherryfield just lately requested Sturtevant about copying her constructing plans to construct a FLAG in that tiny down east neighborhood. Each Sturtevant and Candy assume free little artwork galleries will probably be arising throughout Maine earlier than lengthy — and neither supposes that having a sturdy arts scene is a prerequisite.
“The galleries are a common outlet for individuals to make issues and really feel secure to place their artwork on the market,” Candy says, “to faucet themselves and discover one thing inside.”
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