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This Little Free Gallery is a Player! 

We are Joe and Rick, a couple of guys for whom creativity is a way of life. At any given moment, we have several projects underway in the little blue house we share with a red heeler called Jasper. We enjoy making mosaics, soap, monoprints, handmade paper, and much more. We also enjoy sharing our creativity with the community of Boscobel.

Dotting the landscape of our little town on the Wisconsin River, are several little free libraries. In 2019, we built something that resembled one of those ubiquitous book boxes, but didn’t fill it with literature. Instead, we filled it with art. Simple expressions of creativity set the tone: painted stones, mosaic trivets, a graceful wire sculpture, and a smudge-stick of homegrown sage. We set our free art exchange up next to the sidewalk, christened it “The Little Free Gallery on Elm,” then walked away.

Soon after, some of the artworks disappeared, and to our delight, new treasures took their places. Clearly, there were creative people in our area who were eager to share the beautiful things they’d made with us.

Since 2019, the look of the Little Free Gallery on Elm changed a few times. We’ve gone from looking like a little free library to a haunted house. We then went from tree house to roadside shrine studded with gewgaws. Our goal each season is to be more fabulous and less prefab.

With fabulousness in mind, we took up screwdriver and crowbar in January of 2023 and gutted a player piano that had fallen into abject disuse. The piano plate, sometimes called the “frame” or “harp” is made of cast iron and is responsible for seventy percent of a piano’s weight. When we extracted it at long last, painting and cabinetry work began. Work on the gallery made the winter go by quickly, and on May first we presented it to our community.

In this, its fifth season, the Little Free Gallery on Elm is housed in a 1920s Gulbransen player piano. Now that it’s open, we invite you to see it for yourself. When you visit, you might just see a piece of art you like. If so, take it home with you. You may also leave a piece of art you’ve made. It’s sure to surprise and delight a perfect stranger!

Evolution of a Free Little Art Gallery

We are open 24/7 from May first through October thirty-first. Look for us at 504 Elm Street across from the A&W restaurant on Highway 61 in beautiful Boscobel, Wisconsin. And follow us on Instagram and Facebook at thelittlefreegalleryonelm


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