If you’ve recently been to the office on the third floor of McCain Hall, then you’ve probably already seen them.
Them being a bunch of little heads made mainly from plaster casts, and they’re sitting in a professor’s compact mailbox. These heads are the work of artist Kim Vose Jones and are a part of visual art professor Robin Peck’s miniature art gallery.
At first people thought the mailbox gallery was a joke, putting other random objects inside the mailbox, but eventually when they heard it was an exhibit, they began to take it seriously.
“It’s actually a nice little spot,” said Peck. “It’s got nice proportions and it’s got wood paneling on every side.”
The gallery has gotten attention locally and internationally — receiving praise from artists in Vancouver, New York and Iceland, all of whom have expressed interest in having their own exhibit in the mailbox.
Although it may be new to St. Thomas, the tradition of small stage art has been around for quite some time. There was a subculture that originated in the ’70s of artists who used to mail their artwork around to different people, they were able to do this because of the small cost of postage.
Peck also mentioned there is a man in Vancouver who has an art gallery in a hole in his beard. Artists will send him in smaller pieces and if he likes it then he’ll showcase the work for free.
It’s equally as easy for Peck to receive art this way today, the low cost of shipping is one of the reasons he is able to hold this exhibition and future ones. With the Fine Arts program being so small, and the visual arts section even smaller, with only one professor and one room to do art in, the idea of having a small gallery just seemed to make sense.
“The whole concept of everything being small was so perfect,” said Peck. “We got this tiny art gallery, this tiny department — why not have an even smaller exhibit?”
The gallery is in an ideal location because it’s so public. You don’t have to work to find it. Any faculty or student going to pick up mail or dropping off papers will see the tiny collection.
“My mailbox is fairly prominent, it’s two down on the right side,” said Peck. “If interest in it dries up then it’ll turn back into a mailbox, but I don’t get much mail.”
The mailbox gallery is still open to more show proposals, although it is first focusing on the international artists that have made a claim to the venue.