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Natick - Local Town Pages

The Art of Going Small

By Sean Sullivan
For some things in life, it’s counted as progress when things get smaller.
The balance on a debt you owe is a notable one. A shrinking tumor on one’s pancreas? For sure. Our waistlines would be yet another.
In this case, what started out as merely little has shrunk even more so. And that was the goal.
The “Free Little Art Gallery” (FLAG for shorthand) was a public project started by Natick local creatives Virginia McEachern and Denise Girardin. It was a showcase in miniature, on display just outside the doors of the Morse Institute Library.
The FLAG featured scaled-down works of art, pieces that would fit into the small diorama-like case that sheltered the gallery from the elements and small-time art thieves. From kids to novices to fine artists, “Anyone can participate,” said Girardin.
That the little gallery was so accessible, in several senses of the word, made the presentation a success. Still, Girardin set her sights on something even smaller. Like the nano-technology nerds in some science-fic tion film, she wanted to go smaller. Smaller!
Girardin came across the idea for Natick’s upcoming “Micro Gallery” exhibit while scrolling creatives on Instagram. It’s a fitting platform on which to discover the discipline of smallish works of art – perusing thumbnail galleries on the small screens we all now carry around in our pockets.
“I stumbled upon these micro galleries,” said Girardin. “I just became obsessed with it.”
And just as the size of the art in Natick’s micro gallery will be reduced from its predecessor, so too will the roster of talent from which it’s selected. It will be comprised of “gallery quality art,” which will be evaluated through a jury process. A “blind” panel will do the choosing, said Girardin, “so there won’t be any bias.”
Entries for inclusion into the micro gallery’s inaugural exhibit were being accepted up until late last month.       
Downsizing one’s work is a special kind of challenge for artists, being confined in this case to a creative canvas four inches square. Those are the parameters in which submissions must be constrained. Like creating the classic ship in a bottle, the discipline is its own special breed of fine art, requiring extra attention to detail.
“People really take it seriously, making things that miniature,” said Girardin. 
The micro gallery itself will be about 32 inches long, 17 inches high and 13.5 inches deep.
“We had to be very conscious,” of the gallery’s girth, said Girardin, as it will live in its own nook on Adams Street. The one-way byway has become a canvas of sorts in its own right, its facades and fixtures serving as murals and art installations over the last several years.
Adams Street has long hosted an artist’s collective of studios, and the creativity has since spilled out into and onto the fire escape-draped avenue.
Opening day for the micro gallery is planned for the third Thursday in July, the night on which the town’s Artwalk event will fall. The jury-selected pieces will run for about six weeks, after which rolling submissions will be added to the collection.
Adams Street will be shut down to motor traffic that evening and also for Natick Nights during the summer, during which it assumes somewhat of a Mardi Gras mask of local talent in performance, art and culinary expression.
The micro gallery will serve as a newcomer in the festivities, a unique attraction for merrymakers to marvel at.
“When they do it,” said Girardin, “it will be so fun out