Simplified: The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co. downtown has turned its "Occupied Gallery" into a little free art library. Here's how it works.

Why it matters

  • Owners Mary Campbell and Corey Gerlach have been long been supporting local artists. That's why they turned their business's bathroom into an art gallery – the Occupied Gallery – that frequently updates to feature (and sell) works from different artists.
  • Throughout March and April, instead of featuring just one artist, the coffee shop is giving anyone a chance to share their art.
  • In the first couple weeks, Campbell estimates they've seen 50 works of art come and go from the "library" – including some pieces from very established local artists, though the goal is to include everybody.
"I hoped that it would would level the playing field for people who had wanted to show something," Campbell said. "And maybe it would eliminate barriers for people who couldn't afford art ... or just be an interesting social experiment to see what would happen."

How does it work?

The general "rule" is to take some art, leave some art – though Campbell said she also wants this to be a way for people to have access to art even if they cannot afford to purchase it.

  • So, even if you have no art to leave, you can still take something home.

Campbell also wants to be clear that she didn't invent this idea – it spurred from a story of a similar lending library she heard about on the radio.

  • There are a handful of similar art lending libraries out there, but she believes this is the only one currently operating in Sioux Falls.

What happens next?

The "art library" will be in the Occupied Gallery until May 4, though Campbell said she'd love to find a way to make it a more permanent feature of The Breaks.

"I hope it gains momentum," she said.

The Breaks is also always looking for artists to feature in their Occupied Gallery, Campbell said.