There are many small art galleries around the world, but Erin Conn thinks she now claims the “smallest” in the world at just over 100 square feet.
Airdrie resident-turned-Crossfieldian Erin Conn has opened “the world’s smallest art gallery” in Crossfield, serving as a showcase space and studio for the creation of her vibrant works of art.
Conn, the owner of Tiny CONNtempo Gallery, said there are many small art galleries around the world, but she believes she now claims the “smallest” gallery in the world, with just over a hundred square feet.
“It’s really small and the ceiling is probably only seven feet,” Conn said of his new studio. “You can’t be too big to fit in there. It’s almost like Alice in Wonderland.
Conn said that since moving to Crossfield with her family six months ago, she often walked along Railway Street, where she came across a tiny place to rent.
She learned about the space and came up with the idea of creating a small art gallery there.
“I kept thinking, ‘This would be a great little place to do a really small gallery,’ so I took the plunge,” she said. “I’m going to paint there and then I’ll have original artwork, prints, mugs, cool tote bags, coasters and stationery to print my artwork on.”
The artist’s work is featured on public mediums such as electrical boxes and bus passes around Airdrie, as well as in art galleries across Canada and the United States.
She hopes to make her art affordable and accessible to everyone, regardless of economic status.
“I understand it’s so hard for people right now to buy art because life is so expensive,” Conn said. “That’s why I wanted to offer affordable paper prints and objects so that everyone could enjoy art, not just the wealthy who buy original paintings.”
Opening a working art gallery has always been a dream for Conn, who said she was inspired by Angela Morgan Studio – a working art studio – in Fernie, British Columbia.
“It’s nice that people can come in and see your work, but [also see] you are working on something,” she said. “And then they can keep visiting if they want to see a work in progress, which I think is also really nice.”
She also wanted to open an art gallery to get to know her new community of Crossfield better.
“I have been at home with two children for 15 years painting [and] I hardly spoke to anyone,” she said with a laugh. “So it’s nice to be able to share it with the community and get to know the people and bring the arts to such a small little town that has nothing like it yet.”
Since her children are growing up and don’t need as much time these days, Conn said she appreciates the freedom of being able to work in her own space with few interruptions.
“I can focus a little more on producing more art and just being more creative,” she said.
“Because of the way the world has been for the past few years, I just thought it was always something I wanted to do, so why am I waiting? I might as well try at the less, right?
According to Conn, his works present a modern approach to pointillism. Compared to Braille, the style often includes thousands of tiny dots of raised paint on an artwork.
“In fact, I squeeze [the dots] through a tube, so there’s a lot of texture,” she said. “No matter how much I [art with] points since I was a little kid, but now it’s just kind of exploded.
“If you look at some of my paintings you can’t necessarily tell from afar, but when you get close to the work it’s mostly dots”
Although not long open, Conn’s unique artistry is already on full display in his working art studio. The new space celebrated its grand opening on August 13, and friends and family came out for the unveiling.
“I passed quite a few locals and they said they saw it on Facebook and walked in, so that was good,” she said. “I met a few people.”
According to the artist, Crossfield is now her home base, but she also dreams of one day opening a bigger art gallery in Airdrie.
“Eventually, I would like to have a bigger space to be able to present other artists as well,” she said. “I always wanted to have a space where I could do classes for the kids or have fun painting evenings.
“This is where I would like to be”