Let’s Get Small: Bite-Sized Art at the Silver Apple Gallery

little free art gallery with sign reading "Silver Apple"
The newest, tiniest art space in town. Silver Apple Gallery, Main Street, Lawrenceville

“A gallery for all,” declares artist Kirsten Ervin. That mission, inspired by Mayor Gainey’s pledge to make Pittsburgh a city for all, is one of the guiding principals behind the city’s newest, tiniest, and Covid-accessible…est art spaces.

The Silver Apple Gallery, located on Main Street in Lawrenceville, is a project of Ms. Ervin (aka Ms. Orbit) and yours truly. It has but a few cubic feet of display space, parking may be scarce, and don’t count on filling up on hors d’oeuvres at openings, but there’s a lot we can do with this little addition to the art scene.

Inspired by the area’s first little free art gallery, in Sharpsburg, The Ms. asked her Mr. to construct something similar. That turned into a Christmas project/present executed by the most amateur of carpenters from (mostly) scrap wood and a recycled Window by way of Construction Junction. The name was inspired by some fake fruit found at the Center for Creative Reuse and an homage to the great Morton Subotnick. Mild New Year’s weekend weather let us install it right away.

side panel of little free art gallery featuring a cut out silver apple on a red background
How ’bout this apple?

We plan on running the gallery in two modes, alternating month-to-month—but don’t hold us to that; we’re still making this up as we go along.

On the odd-numbered months (January, March, etc.) the space will operate as a little free art gallery. It will remain unlocked and available for artists to drop off their work to show and give away. (Just, please, keep it community-friendly: nothing depicting violence, hate, or overly-sexual.) Like little free libraries, passers-by, collectors, and fellow artists are encouraged to take a piece of art if one speaks to them.

artwork of tiny monster in a dress inside glass display box, created by artist Kirsten Ervin
Kirsten Ervin’s tiny monster in a tiny dress inside a tiny box at the Silver Apple Gallery

On the even months, we’ll turn the space into a full-on tiny art gallery. These will have dedicated shows by individual artists, created for the unique environment. Silver Apple, uh, staff will assist in the hanging, presentation, and lighting the shows. During this time, the gallery will be locked and artists have the option to sell their work directly to those interested. In the Art All Night model, this exchange will be entirely between seller and buyer—The Silver Apple will neither charge a fee nor take a commission.

In February, we’ll be hosting the first individual two-week shows by artists Suzanne Werder (Feb. 1-14) and Ricardo Solis (Feb. 15-28). If you’re an artist who’d like to show at The Silver Apple in the future, either get in touch with us through our Instagram account (@silverapplegallery) or here at the Orbit. When it becomes virologically safe to do so, maybe we’ll even have some little openings on the front porch.

Artist John Lee with his art inside little free art gallery
We caught artist John Lee as he snuck by to drop off his painting “Super Flexible Birdman,” which became the first exhibited piece at the Silver Apple Gallery

“We want The Silver Apple to be accessible, fun, and delightful,” Ervin says, “Hopefully, for people that just stumble across it, the gallery will lift their days. This is our gift to the community and ourselves.”

So please, if you find yourself somewhere around Lawrenceville, stop by, take a peek at what’s in the gallery (it changes every day!), and bring a dog biscuit for Halo, the husky next door.

surrealist pen-and-ink drawing including long serpant and many animal figures with human faces
A Dan Ivec pen-and-ink drawing—likely with a fantastic title we’ll never know—showed-up in the gallery just yesterday.

Silver Apple Gallery is located at 255 Main Street, Central Lawrenceville. Hopefully it will contain something interesting every day of the year, but it may be a little hard to see after dark. To keep up with goings-on at The Silver Apple, we recommend following our Instagram account: @silverapplegallery.

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