Spreading the gift of imagination in Phillips

3 mins read
The Little Free Art Gallery was started by Susy Sanders in Phillips and has gained popularity over the months.

PHILLIPS – Susy Sanders, a local business owner, has started a “Little Free Art Gallery” in front of the Phillips Public Library. The concept is borrowed from the “Little Free Libraries” that are commonly found around neighborhoods and towns, but in place of books are free art supplies and pieces of art.

Children are able to take what they need from the bins full of canvases, paint, brushes and much more. They can use these supplies at home and bring their finished pieces back to the Little Free Art Gallery to leave for someone else to enjoy.

“I promote the encouragement of imagination,” Sanders said. “Our imaginations are our greatest gift.”

Sanders runs Morning Bridge Center on Main Street in Phillips and hosts the Wonderland children’s festival.

Sanders believes that promoting imagination and creativity is what will bring us all together during this unusual time. She got the idea for the gallery from a woman in Seattle who created the first Little Free Art Gallery in 2019. Since then, the galleries have spread like wildfire across the country.

Using her stimulus checks, Sanders was able to buy art supplies, along with books and food, for the Blessing Box outside the library. She noticed how popular the art supplies were in the community; she would find people waiting for her to deliver them on the steps of the library. When Sanders came across an article about the Little Free Art Gallery in Seattle, she immediately knew her community would benefit from something similar.

Sanders got permission from the librarian, Hedy Langdon, and hired two young men from Mt Abram High School, Ian Allen and Kyle Presby, to design and build the box. Amy Brewer, a local woman, painted a sign for the art gallery. Sanders herself keeps the box full of art supplies, and so far art is always coming in and out of the box.

When she first had the idea, Sanders was warned that people would take advantage of her generosity and take more than they needed from the bins. The first time she put out art supplies, someone did indeed take all $200 worth within two hours. Although she felt discouraged, Sanders gave it another go and nothing like that has happened since.

According to Sanders, the Little Free Art Gallery should never be empty.

Supplies can be donated by way of the bin beneath the free art gallery.

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