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Miniature art, major impact: Education professors establish ‘give art, take art’ little gallery initiative on campus

Arts Community Engagement Jan 22, 2024

When IU South Bend School of Education professors Sydney Beauchamp and Laticia Hequembourg decided to bring the “free little art” concept to campus, they wanted to make the power of art accessible to all.

“This is based on the little free libraries you may see around town, where you can leave a book, take a book. I saw a little free art gallery in Seattle online and it just clicked for me that it would be a perfect fit to bring to our campus,” explains Beauchamp. “If you have an empty spot in your workspace, you can come get a piece of artwork to add some color and joy to your surroundings.”

Sydney Beauchamp and Laticia Hequembourg look over art work in the lending library. From left: Sydney Beauchamp and Laticia HequembourgThe Little Art Gallery is quite literally, little art. A miniature version of an art gallery inside a box designed with tiny creations displayed on easels, it has a “take one, leave one” system where participants can bring in their own small piece of art and exchange it for one in the gallery. People are also encouraged to donate art supplies they no longer need, which others can then take free of charge. It is intended to promote art making and foster a sense of community.

“I think in this tiny format, it makes it a little less intimidating for people who maybe don’t fancy themselves an artist,” explains Hequembourg. “It gives you the opportunity to make something small – to feel like you are contributing to something and then also be able to take something away.”

Another purpose of the Little Art Gallery is as a hands-on supplement to traditional classroom learning for School of Education students. Creating and exchanging small pieces of artwork provides education students, particularly those who plan to teach art, with opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world context.

Examples of the art work available in the lending library. “Being art teachers ourselves, Sydney and I really want our students to be able to express and create, so they will then be able to do that with their own students,” says Hequembourg.

School of Education Dean Hope Davis is looking forward to the creative impact of the Little Art Gallery initiative and how it will benefit the students in the teacher education program.

“Taking learning outside of the classroom helps remind us that education should be fun, engaging, and access more than one single sensory point,” she said.

The Little Art Gallery is housed in the School of Education’s Education & Arts Suite, EA 2200. It is open to the public.

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