CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — A new exhibition space highlights local art – by reducing it in size.
The Fitzroy Street Tiny Art Gallery features miniature artwork and exhibits by local artists, ranging from tiny paintings to small sculptures, dioramas and everything in between.
Monica Lacey, who created and runs the art gallery in a small glass box atop a pole on her lawn, said she was inspired by a webinar she attended on alternative gallery spaces. of art across North America in the spring.
“(The webinar) included someone who had exhibits on the dashboard of his truck during COVID, so there were a lot of really unique spaces,” she said.
“It just got me thinking, why not do it here?” she added.
Inspired, Lacey applied to the Community Micro-Grants Program through the City of Charlottetown to fund the creation of the art gallery.
She said she was inspired by the tiny libraries that were popping up across the country and built the gallery to be visible and accessible to anyone walking or driving along Fitzroy Street at all times.
To give the small gallery some recognition initially, Lacey organized a showcase of four local artists, allowing each of them to show their small custom work for two weeks.
Jill McRae, an artist specializing in small art sculptures often made of paper, was one of the featured artists. In the small gallery space, McRae recreated his old living room, which was lined with guitars, drums, a keyboard and amplifiers.
“My partner is a sound engineer and when I moved in with him we basically had a studio in the living room,” she said.
“When I moved in, it was both cool and horrible for me because we didn’t really have a living room, so if I was home sick for a day and he had musicians, I was just kinda stuck upstairs in a bedroom.”
She said that around this time she began recreating the instruments in their living room as miniature paper models.
“I guess it was something that was constantly around me, constantly on my mind. There was one night where I just started doing the drum kit and it kind of grew from there,” McRae said.
While some of the pieces she created are over ten years old, McRae said using them to create a miniature version of her old living room seemed to fit the idea of the small gallery perfectly.
If you are going to
• The Fitzroy Street Tiny Art Gallery is located at 295 Fitzroy St.
• During organized exhibitions, if the artists approve it, the gallery will be unlocked during the last days of the showcase, allowing anyone to take an artwork that interests them.
• To follow the news of the gallery, its developments and its showcases, consult @fitzroystinyartgallery on Instagram.
McRae, who works at the Confederation Center of the Arts, said it was important for the arts and culture community in Charlottetown and across the island to have a new, innovative way to present local art in a format different.
“I think it’s great to look at different ways to spread art,” she said.
“It kind of provides an endless number of possibilities for different artists to show in their work. I think because of its size it will probably inspire different types of art. The art is usually big, and I feel like modern art is getting bigger and bigger, so it’s really nice to have a space that inspires something else to happen.
She said that if given the opportunity, she would like to display more of her art in the gallery.
While each of the four curated exhibitions is on display, the art gallery has remained closed to ensure the pieces get their time in the spotlight and to bring new interest to the gallery. However, a few days before the installation of the next exhibition, the box is unlocked, allowing anyone interested to take home a piece of art they love.
Lacey said once the curated exhibits are over, the lockdown will be lifted for the fall, leaving it open to everyone. During this time, she said she would like to see the gallery become more community-oriented.
“It will become more of a community space in the fall, now that people are sort of aware of it and it’s a little more established,” she said.
“It will work a bit more like tiny libraries where anyone can put art in, and anyone can get art out of it.”
After the final exhibition – created by artist Betty-Jo McCarville – the gallery will remain open through the fall, allowing everyone to display their art, before going down for a short time in the winter to avoid any damage from the snow or snowplows.
Lacey said that when she returns in the spring of 2023, she hopes to be able to recruit a few sponsors to create another series of exhibitions curated by well-known local artists.
Most importantly, Lacey said she hopes the gallery inspires others to create more art.
“I hope this inspires people in the community of all ages and at all levels of our practice to create little things to go about it,” she said.
“Part of my intention with the build was that it’s a space where everyone is welcome, where anyone can engage with artwork. You don’t have to have it studied, you don’t need to have any knowledge about it, you can just walk by and enjoy it.