It’s a unique take on the little free library movement gaining traction across North America — the little free art gallery.
Kalie Bredo believes she built Edmonton’s first such gallery in Garneau. It opened its ‘door’ for the first time in October, but it has been growing in popularity through the winter months.
“It’s based off of little free libraries, which are book exchange boxes found throughout neighbourhoods. I thought it’d be nice to have something similar for art instead of books,” Bredo said.
“Some place to leave things that I make and that other people make. Others can just walk by and take something that they like.”
Bredo currently has a few collages and paintings inside the green box. At first, it was just her work inside – but now others are contributing too.
Jeff and Edna Tunke stopped to look at the box as they left breakfast at the High Level Diner. They’re not from Edmonton – but they think their son, an artist, would be keen to add his work to the collection if they lived nearby.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea for any young and upcoming artists that need a break,” Jeff said.
“We had a look and there’s some really interesting things in there,” Edna added.
“Art is something that you feel – and there’s a lot of emotion in that box right there.”
For Bredo, the gallery is a family affair. Her dad helped make the box and her brother let her place it on his front lawn.
She picked the location strategically, too. It’s close to the Sugarbowl Cafe and High Level Diner and sees a lot of foot traffic year-round.
Sarang Gumfekar walks past the green box on his way to and from work.
“Every day if I see some different pictures, I like it. Whenever people are going towards their work – they’re a little bit stressed, so that gives me a moment of relief and something happy to start my day with,” he said.
While he hasn’t personally added to the art, he says he often takes pictures of pieces he finds inside that catch his attention. He likes to send those pictures to friends.
That’s exactly what Bredo was hoping for.
“Just to see people looking in and smiling and hopefully finding something they’d like to take home.”
She likes how the free aspect of the gallery makes the work accessible to anyone.
“A lot of times we think of art as something really valuable and precious, but it doesn’t have to be. It can just be fun and little. Something people can take and pass on and enjoy for a little while.”
Bredo says most of the art left in the box is anonymous – but anyone that wants to showcase other, perhaps larger, pieces of art is encouraged to contact her through Instagram.