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  • Writer's pictureellencdonker


Maplewood resident creates a new kind of art gallery

Beth VanDusen made the Free Little Art Gallery and installed it on her front lawn at 534 Summit Avenue in Maplewood.

As an art therapist, Beth VanDusen is always creating. Having seen many of the Free Little Libraries on lawns across the community, she asked herself what if there were a similar library that contained small pieces of art instead of books, meant “for making or taking or viewing” and that would “draw people in [who would] possibly want to create something.” Thus the Free Little Art Gallery was conceived.

VanDusen got to work making the “house.” Rather than following a model, she came up with the design herself, refashioning a wine crate to serve as the structure and adding a shingled roof, overhanging eaves, a sliding plexiglass door and a motion-activated light in the gallery’s interior.

A peak inside the gallery reveals a number of different pieces of artwork. Passers-by enjoy seeing how it changes from day to day.

On July 14, VanDusen installed the library on her front lawn – 534 Summit Avenue in Maplewood – using small works from friends and family to kick it off. She plans to reveal a new theme every two months when she will invite residents to place their art in the Art Gallery. Matters Magazine is honored to announce the theme for August/September, Back to the Future, with the following prompt:

"What does the future of going back to the classroom, the workplace or even new beginnings look like? Will everything go back to a new normal? This is a theme that is only seen from your perspective, so anything goes. How you interpret “back to the future” is up to you and your imagination. Have fun with the idea and let your creativity go big while keeping the artwork small. So go ahead and give it a go. All artwork on this theme will be displayed from August through September."

Art pieces should be no larger than 3” x 4” and can be two- or three-dimensional; they should be handmade using whatever materials one enjoys working with.

You can follow the Free Little Art Gallery on Instagram @artbox.534 or visit

1 Comment

Aug 16, 2021

This is the perfect addition to the Maplewood arts scene!!

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