Tiny art exhibit opens at library

Published 1:13 pm Monday, March 6, 2023

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Art is populating the library.

“The Tiny Art Show is a community event where participants picked up a 3-inch-by-3-inch canvas,” said Annice Sevett, director at the Albert Lea Public Library. “They were able to use any medium — so paint, pencil, collage, anything they wanted to to create a piece of art.”

This is the second time the library has held a show, following one last spring.

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“It was really successful last year, and so we wanted to bring it back, give people a chance to make a creation,” she said. “Art is a form of expression, but also a form of learning. And so we felt like incorporating art into what we do and then letting the community see the creations that people have made was really valuable.”

This year there are around 75 entries. By comparison, last year’s show drew around 60 entries for the one-week display. There is painting, pencil, a laser engraving and collages.

The library started handing out canvases at the beginning of February, and gave participants a month to submit their canvas.

“We had a really good response in the beginning, and then throughout the month as we mentioned it to people we had more people pick up canvases,” she said.

Pieces are divided into different age ranges: toddlers (newborn to 3), preschool (3 to 5), elementary/middle school, high school and adult, and divided between the main library (high school and adult) and children’s library (toddler, preschool and elementary/middle school).

Participants were limited to one canvas apiece, and there was no restriction on medium. The only restriction for the show was that each piece had to be appropriate for a wide audience.

She was also happy to see the show become a family affair for some people, and noted there were some families in which everyone participated.

The art show, which opened Monday, will run through March 19 throughout the library during regular business hours. By comparison, last year’s show was in June.

“First year, I was very surprised by the turnout that we had,” she said. “When you start something new you never know [what] the participation is going to be. You don’t know if people are going to hear about it, if it’s going to take off. But we were really happy with that number, and so we’re hoping to build on that success.”

She also wanted visitors to note the creativity.

Sevett said there was a lot more adult participation compared to last year. By her estimation, there were 18 to 20 adults, while this year there were 32.

“We felt that participation would be higher if we did it in a colder month, so in the winter.” she said.

Sevett said she planned to take photos of the pieces and put them together in a slideshow on the library’s Youtube channel.

By doing this, Sevett wanted to help build the community and said this was one way to do so.

“We’ve had some participants who participated last year who have now participated again this year, and they’re really excited to do it again,” she said. “They appreciate the opportunity, and it’s one way that we can include people in the community in some of our programs who maybe wouldn’t come to an in-person program because the time doesn’t work or it’s not their interest.

“But they can do this at home and turn it in and still be a part of what we have going on at the library.”

Sevett said the staff setting up was “really impressed” with what they’ve seen so far, and is hopeful visitors will be surprised by the talent.