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Evanston’s first “Little Free Art Gallery,” just north of Grandmother Park at 1127 Dewey Ave., opened to local art-lovers on March 6.
The gallery is named “The Licky Lab & Alpaca Gallery”. Ben Schapiro and Staci Page created the gallery, which is part of an international movement. The concept is similar to the Little Free Libraries, which can be spotted on many Evanston blocks.
Ms. Page, who lives at 1127 Dewey and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting, hosted the first show in this gallery. It includes her watercolor and mixed media paintings, as well as work by artists Scott Greenberg and Ian Ehafh.
Two dimensional and three dimensional art pieces less than 5” x 7” fit easily inside the box and are available for visitors to take with them. Other artists have the option of leaving their own art.
The idea of bringing the Little Free Art Gallery movement to Evanston was initiated by Lisa Degliantoni, founder and executive director of Evanston Made, a nonprofit membership organization which advocates for art and artists in the Evanston community.
The gallery was designed and built by Mr. Schapiro, chief maker and owner of BenBuilt, where he uses repurposed materials to create such one-of-a-kind items as bike trailers for dogs, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.
Made of wood and painted white, the gallery’s plexiglass roof fills the gallery with light and gives it the feel of a skylit art studio.
There is also a motion-sensitive light on the ceiling for after-dark art viewers.
The base in this case is a rain barrel filled with sand, but Mr. Schapiro says it could be anything that works. He said he is willing to help other artists build their galleries.
Ms. Page is enthusiastic about sharing her gallery with the public, saying “it celebrates art for everyone, by everyone.”