Small free art galleries are popping up on the streets of East Bay

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — There’s a small movement popping up in the East Bay with a big message. Small free art galleries are popping up in Oakland, Berkeley, and other communities.

A Seattle woman started the movement to please her neighbors — and it’s spread across the country.

Small wooden boxes are located outside people’s houses where the idea is to take a work of art with you and leave a room for the next person.

Fernando Santos, CEO and founder of Beast Oakland, is among those putting the art in the boxes.

“I heard about The Little Free Art Gallery on social media, then I looked it up and it was very close to my shop,” he said.

Santos is an artist, teacher and business owner. He says art is life for him and likes the idea. His shop is less than 5 minutes from one of the Petites Galeries d’Art Libre. Although he is known for graffiti art, t-shirt design and many other things, small art work is his thing

“It’s just fun,” Santos said. “And that’s something that may be different than just going to a museum or something. It may be easily accessible to people and children who live nearby.”

Allie St. Amand is one of the many people who decided to start one outside of her home.

“I just wanted to be a happy exchange,” she said. “It started as a creative outlet.”

St. Amand moved to a new neighborhood in Oakland and thought it would be a great idea to help meet people and build community.

“The contributions and the response have been far greater than I expected,” she said. “People came from all over the Bay Area and it was such a great way to meet people, meet other artists, meet neighbors.”

Mildred D. Field