‘Free little art gallery’ springs up in Berkeley

Pamela Gaye Walker's free art gallery. (Photo by Katherine Ann Rowlands/Bay City News)

First there was the Little Free Library. Now there’s the Free Little Art Gallery.

Looking to inspire others to share their artwork, a Berkeley actress and screenwriter has started a Free Little Art Gallery in front of her home on Forest Lane between Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Keeler Avenue. All the art is miniature and, like the free libraries, enclosed in a free standing wooden display box.

“I miss museums and theaters and art and I just feel like Berkeley is just loaded with great people (doing art),” said Pamela Gaye Walker of Berkeley.

The idea behind the outdoor gallery is to leave art for others to enjoy and take a piece or two for yourself.

The new gallery is at least the third such project in Berkeley. Tiny Great Art at Hopkins and Ordway streets in Berkeley features artwork from watercolors to children’s crayon drawings. Walker also inspired her daughter to start a little outdoor gallery in front of her home at Edith and Vine streets in Berkeley.

Walker said she was inspired to start the outdoor free gallery from the Little Free Library concept.

Interior of Pamela Gaye Walker’s free art gallery. (Photo by Katherine Ann Rowlands/Bay City News)

“In my walks in the Berkeley hills, there are so many of those little libraries,” she said Saturday.

Started in 2009 by a Wisconsin couple, the little wooden libraries are designed to look like one-room schoolhouses and can store a few dozen books. People donate ones they’re finished with and help themselves to ones they’d like to read.

The Little Free Library was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2012 and has also been adopted internationally. There are now more than 90,000 little libraries in 91 countries around the world — including several in Piedmont.

To celebrate the opening of her miniature art gallery, Walker will hold a champagne reception from 4 to 5 p.m. on April 18. She hopes for a large turnout and to add a lot more art to the gallery. She’s also interested in talking to artists who might be willing to do some painting at the entrance to the gallery, she said.

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