We’ve all seen those cute little free libraries that offer free books for anyone who walks by. Each little library is unique and different, just like the books that are contained inside. But have you noticed the bright and colorful Little Free Art Shop in Wrightwood? It doesn’t contain free books, but it does contain a different kind of imaginative treasure. According to the sign posted inside the Little Free Art Shop, which is only a block away from Wrightwood’s busy Park and Apple Street, it states: “Think of it as a little free library but with art and supplies instead of books. Any art or supply left here is free for you to take or use.”
The Little Free Art Shop was created by local artist and Wrightwood resident Cheyanne Hunter who was inspired by all the free libraries in town and the sense of community they bring to the neighborhood. “As I don’t read as much as I used to, I didn’t have much to contribute to the little free libraries,” said Hunter. “I am an artist, however, and I always have old supplies and art that I’m storing but not using. Having a space to share those items seemed like something that the community could benefit from.
Having just recently been constructed in May of 2022, the Little Free Art Shop had a busy grand opening. According to Hunter, she remembers having to constantly restock art supplies and organize the countless creations that were left behind. “The first week or so, there was a lot of traffic, especially since the launch coincided with the Memorial weekend garage sales,” said Hunter. “Over time, the art shop has had less traffic and participation, but it still is amazing to see that it continually gets new supplies and art left.”
Local artists have been contributing to the Little Free Art Shop since its formation, and all kinds of artistic pieces have been left behind, like crocheted stuffed animals from Etsy seller Savannah of SavStitichery and small metal artwork from local business owner Sarah Bailey of Wrightwood Metal Works. Wrightwood artist, Tyler Wallis, had originally created digital media artwork, which he exclusively posted online for friends and family, but the art shop inspired him to step out of his comfort zone and create more physical and personal art. “The idea of making something unique that might catch a stranger’s eye and then take up a small space in their life is inspiring. There’s something zen and romantic about that, setting a piece in a box, and then one day it’s gone.” Wallis hopes other community members will be inspired to participate, saying, “Hopefully, some new art is in its place. So, on the one hand, it’s an exercise in letting things go. But on the other hand, it’s about connecting with other people and taking part in something special.”
With the abundance of art being exchanged, Hunter decided to create an Instagram account @littlefree_artshop to post pictures and showcase the beautiful left-behind creations. The shop has recently included a theme for the month to inspire artists to create art around a common topic. October’s theme was “Spooky,” so be sure to check out the new November theme and stop by the shop to participate simply by making art, creating art, and sharing art.
The Little Free Art Shop is located on the 1300 block of Helen Street between Willow and Cedar in Wrightwood, CA. Follow the shop on Instagram @littlefree_artshop.