Langley’s newest art gallery is of modest size.
Dubbed the Museum of Mini-Art, the contents could probably all fit into a shoebox.
Linda DiRienzo, the curator of the 18 inch by 18 inch space, took inspiration from other such minuscule galleries she viewed in the neighborhoods of Portland while visiting her son.
The size of a Little Free Library, the Langley MoMA currently hosts eight small scale artworks.
“I thought that Langley needed one, especially our little neighborhood here in the Highlands,” DiRienzo said. “I thought it would be fun. The neighbors have really enjoyed it.”
Her son-in-law, Mark Kohlhaas, built the structure for her birthday this year.
Two of the artists displayed in the diminutive gallery are Greta and Carl Kohlhaas, DiRienzo’s grandchildren who also live in Langley.
Greta, 10, enjoys landscape work, which includes sunsets and flowers. She painted two tiny canvases, “Fleur” and “Sunrise-Sunset,” which are both in the Museum of Mini-Art.
Carl, 12, painted a replica of a familiar famous artwork. Titled “The Starry Night After Van Gogh,” the small-scale reproduction has a striking similarity to the original piece, which is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He wants to try painting the “Mona Lisa” next.
DiRienzo herself has artwork displayed in the Langley MoMA. Her contribution includes mesh wire and a single googly eye called “Cyclops: My Eye is on You.”
“I watch the children, so I thought that was appropriate,” she said with a laugh.
Over the years, DiRienzo has encouraged her grandchildren’s love of art.
“I wouldn’t call myself a producing artist, but I love art and I have done some art in the past,” she said. “I’d like to do more in the future.”
Other artworks in the gallery include pieces that DiRienzo has collected from local artists and friends. Some of her neighbors have already expressed interest in displaying their work in the next show. One-man or one-woman shows may even be in the lineup.
The Langley MoMA celebrated its grand opening Aug. 21. Greta and Carl participated in the neighborhood ribbon-cutting ceremony, where all things tiny were celebrated with mini appetizers, mini M&Ms and mini glasses of sparkling beverages.
DiRienzo said she wants to have a new exhibit every month at the new gallery. She hopes the tiny museum might inspire others on Whidbey Island to create their own. As far as she knows, the Langley MoMA is the first of its kind on the island. It’s located outside her home, a few feet away from her neighbor’s Little Free Library. Her neighborhood is a popular, pleasant spot for walking.
“I think it helps to build community, to have things like that, like the free library, the little museum,” she said. “I think it helps people to feel like, ‘Well, this is a friendly neighborhood.’ I think it’s fun.”