The Carnegie, Edgartown’s former public library on North Water street, has opened a short-term gallery show with new works by well-known Island artists including Allen Whiting, Jeanne Staples and Margot Datz.

Small farmscape by Marston Clough. — Louisa Hufstader

Organized by the Vineyard Trust, which owns the Carnegie building, the Gifts of Art exhibition features mostly smaller paintings on Vineyard themes. Though none would fit into the average Christmas stocking, most of the works are sized and priced for giving.

“This is really our first changing art exhibition,” said Carnegie executive director Funi Burdick, beaming at the throngs of Islanders who turned out for the opening reception Thursday night.

“People are thanking us for doing this, and they’re buying the art,” she said.

Business was brisk. Less than an hour after the reception began, painter and musician Kate Taylor’s four paintings had sold and a number of other small works had also wore red dots on their price tags, indicating they had been sold.

The largest works in the show are by Jeanne Staples, whose two paintings — of the Grange Hall in West Tisbury and an Oak Bluffs street scene — hang outside the tiny lower floor gallery where the rest of the show resides. The Grange hangs over an upright piano on the first floor, while the Oak Bluffs scene hangs just outside the gallery downstairs.

Ms. Staples also created the show’s only sculptural piece, in which she collaborated with Chilmark woodworker Andy Palmer to design a postmodern mutoscope — an early motion picture viewer invented in the 1890s.

“I told Andy, “I want something that looks old and has some moving parts — maybe they don’t even do anything, but they look cool,” the artist said.

A mutoscope, the lone sculptural piece, is result of a collaboration by artist Jeanne Staples and Chilmark craftsman Andy Palmer. — Louisa Hufstader

The resulting hand-cranked contraption looks like a cross between a steampunk-inspired slot machine, an old-fashioned gramophone and the primitive peep-show technology that inspired this interactive work. Turn a crank on the side of Mr. Palmer’s wooden cabinet and a series of 14 paintings by Ms. Staples begins to move, like a flip-book with framed canvases instead of paper pages.

“I love mechanical devices,” Ms. Staples said. “I’ve always tinkered with things. I love flip books. When I was a kid there was an amusement park that had a real mutoscope: You put in a nickel and the photographs flipped by.”

Her 14 images represent a Flying Horses steed rounding a turn on the beloved historic Oak Bluffs carousel. Unlike the mutoscopes of the last century, in which “What the Butler Saw”-type girlie photos were discreetly viewed through an eyepiece (shaped not unlike today’s virtual-reality headsets), the body of the cabinet is open so that more than one person can view the images at once.

Ms. Staples noted that the work, titled Mutoscope #114-Flying Horses, directly connects to the larger Oak Bluffs oil outside the gallery, in which the carousel building appears.

Gifts of Art, which also features smaller works by Marston Clough, Anna Lowell Finnerty, Marjorie Mason and Elizabeth Whelan, is on display through Dec. 15 during the Carnegie’s open hours: Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.