By Cady Inabinett, News editor
Montevallo Junior Mayor Olivia Gilbert announced that the Montevallo Junior City Council is working on creating an art box for the community during her report at the Montevallo City Council’s Feb. 28 meeting.
Gilbert outlined the art box idea, saying, “An art box is similar to a Little Free Library. People can donate their art and take art from other artists in town. We also hope to have free art supplies in the boxes.”
She credited MJCC member and Montevallo High School senior Luke Emiliano for coming up with the art box idea.
The project draws inspiration from Little Free Library projects. Little Free Libraries are box installations built and maintained by volunteers that stock books that are free for the surrounding community to access. According to the Little Free Library nonprofit’s website, the project aims to provide, “more equitable book access in neighborhoods worldwide,” as well as “strengthen communities and influence literacy outcomes.”
There are currently three Little Free Libraries installed in Montevallo, one upkept by Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church located at the corner of Plowman Street and Oak Street, one in front of the Montevallo Presbyterian Church’s offices on Vine Street, and another upkept by the Parnell Memorial Library on University Park.
These Little Free Library boxes are multi-functional. The St. Andrew’s and Vine Street boxes both also function as community pantries—stocking non-perishable goods free to those in need of them alongside books. The Parnell Memorial Library box is stocked monthly with books in English and Spanish from Parnell Memorial Library’s collection, as well as free craft kits.
“We know that a lot of young people in town enjoy art,” Gilbert said, “and we wanted an accessible way for young artists to participate in the art community in Montevallo.”
Gilbert spoke to the effects she hopes the art box project has on the city, saying, “We hope that young people in Montevallo enjoy using and visiting the art box and that it improves our community.”
Once the project is finished, the art box won’t have one permanent location. “There’s going to be one art box that will change locations every month,” Gilbert explained, going on to say that each new location will be announced on MJCC’s social media.
Gilbert also reported that the group is aiming to have the project completed by the end of the school year.
The art box project is just one of several projects MJCC has worked on in the past year. Other projects have included a Christmas toy drive for Shelby Emergency Assistance, Super Youth Saturdays—which highlights Montevallo youth leaders on MJCC’s social media, and a Montevallo Youth Civic Engagement Grant—providing a grant to organizations looking to hold events or working on projects to benefit Montevallo’s youth community.