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Sackville, N.B.’s newest art gallery has a prime spot on Main street, at the entrance to the town’s beloved waterfowl park.

Inside, spectators take in the art that features paintings, collages and sculptures. Off in the corner, a lone man in a business suit appears to be caught in the all too common faux pas of only showing up for the refreshments.

But artist Kamaya Lindquist doesn’t mind, because the spectators inside Sackville’s Little Free Art Gallery aren’t real.  But the art is.

The gallery is a miniature diorama, set on a post, where it’s been open to the public for a month.

The art is taken and added by whoever feels the urge. Co-creator Lindquist said no one is obliged to make a work of art if they don’t want to. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

“If you’ve heard of little free libraries, it’s about the same,” she said.

“You can leave books, you can take books, it’s a free exchange. This is much the same thing except for it’s miniature art.”

Lindquist came across the idea in an article which featured an artist who had done the same thing in Vancouver.

“I thought, ‘That sounds amazing’.”

Lindquist is Sackville’s Waterfowl Artist in Residence this year, and wrote up a proposal to the town, which was quickly approved.

She and collaborators Denise Garzon and Nicola Hamilton set to work constructing the miniature diorama, complete with a tiny plate of cheese and wine. A small ledge lines the walls, where the works of art are displayed. 

The gold bug, by Peter Lelievre is one of Lindquist’s favourite pieces to go through the gallery. She said she doesn’t know who makes most of the art, and finds it interesting to see which pieces stay for while and which ones come and go quickly. (Kamaya Lindquist/artist)

Lindquist said the response has been very positive.

“I think people are kind of surprised, but also really tickled by the idea, especially the kids,” she said.

“I know the first week I went to check on it and it was just full of kid’s art, which was really sweet to see.”

Lindquist isn’t sure how many mini art works have been exchanged, as she only checks on the gallery every few days, but she said there is a fresh batch of art at least every week.

Collaborator Denise Garzon, said, “I love the idea of free collaboration and community building through give and take, and art is always good.”

Lindquist checks on the gallery every few days, and said she’s continually delighted by the new works of art that appear. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Her favourite piece is still available.

“I really like the one that’s in there now, the red one with the monster eyes, it’s just like so bright and so in your face, it’s just very playful,” said Garzon.

Lindquist said a gold origami bug made by Peter Lelievre, and a miniature Pac Man arcade game stand out in her mind.  She doesn’t know who made the arcade game, but she was impressed with the details, including a little map for the tiny Pac Man to follow.

“It’s just delightful to, like, put it out in the world and then I get to be surprised all the time.”

With works of art on the walls and tiny spectators, Sackville’s Little Free Art gallery is hard to miss. 2:38

Lindquist said she would have done the tiny art gallery regardless of COVID, but she did draw some parallels. 

“It’s the same room every day and it’s the same people every day, in the same positions every day and there’s this sense of, like, screaming monotony,” she said.

“And yet we didn’t live in a vacuum, you know, the outside still came in and the inside when it needed to leave, it left, and I love this sort of reminder of, you know, we’re still connected even when we’re forced apart, we’re still connected.”

Lindquist said the gallery will be in place until the fall.