Concord residents feel the big impact of mini art

Concord residents feel the big impact of mini art

Concord residents feel the big impact of mini art
Sara Wright, left, Bryn Boughton and Amanda Christensen explore the mini art gallery project they all helped bring to fruition. (Photos by Lisa Fulmer)

Lisa FulmerCONCORD, CA—When Sara Wright shared a news article in the Concord Comes Alive Facebook group about a Seattle woman who built a mini art gallery in front of her home, she had no idea that she would be instigating a movement.

“I was so excited by the group’s enthusiasm for the idea,” Wright said after I posted a reply saying that the Concord Art Association (CAA) could make it happen.

Over the next few days, I reached out to Frogard Schmidt, owner of the aRt Cottage, who had installed a mini library in front of her gallery a few years ago. We discussed how to convert part of it to hold art alongside the books and allow local artists to maintain it. CAA board members agreed that it would be a terrific community project to sponsor.

With a fresh coat of paint and a handful of small works, Concord’s first free mini art gallery quickly became a reality.

Art on the sidewalk

The aRt Cottage is a few short blocks from Todos Santos Plaza in downtown Concord. People can explore the mini art gallery on the sidewalk any time and even take a piece home. Local artists and crafters are encouraged to leave some of their own small works behind for others to enjoy.

Denise Erdem spotted the changes to the mini library while she was walking her dogs in the neighborhood. “We picked out a beautiful little painting, and it just made my day,” she said.

Michelle McGallian made a special trip with her young daughter Audrey after seeing the news on Facebook. “I’m just gushing about how smiley the aRt Cottage made us. Fro is so welcoming and CAA is so generous,” she said. “After picking out a mini treasure to take home, Audrey was inspired to get out her paints and make some of her own art. I’m grateful.”

Concord resident Bryn Boughton launched the Concord Comes Alive Facebook group last June, and it now boasts more 3,300 members.

“I had seen other groups promoting restaurants in the area but nothing specific to Concord,” Boughton recalled. “My friends Amanda Christensen and Dan Mires help me operate this group, which has been a real bright spot in a tough year. Our intention is to continue building community and supporting all of our local businesses. I never imagined how important it would become to me.”

Common interests

“The CCA group is an amazing way to stay connected and unite over common interests,” Wright added. “I recently moved to Concord from San Jose, and I’ve loved learning about local art and music from the group.”

The aRt Cottage’s current show, Salon des Refusés, runs through Feb. 26 and features work from more than 30 artists. Located at 2238 Mt. Diablo Street, the main gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday. Learn more at

For details about the free mini art gallery, visit

Lisa Fulmer is a mixed media artist, Concord Art Association board member and founder of She also consults with local artists on self-promotion and personal branding.