Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
DIS 'N' DATA ARCHIVE
The closing of Kiaca Gallery in January was sad news. Located at 937 N. High St. near the Northstar Café, the gallery had been exhibiting fine African and African-American art for seven years, including the work of Talle Bamazi who opened the gallery in December 2004 as a 501(c)(3)organization. The mission to bring greater exposure to African-American contemporary artists was met, but major funding cuts this year presented insurmountable problems for its continued operation. The final show of 2010, “The Edge of Midnight,” which opened in October, included some breathtaking works by jazz lover Ron Anderson. Both Anderson and Bamazi, with whom I spoke prior to the opening, were overjoyed and exhilarated at the prospect of the upcoming show, unaware that Anderson’s exhibit would come to mark the end of an era for the Short North gallery. A native of Kara, Togo in West Africa, Bamazi received his MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2002 after emigrating to New York in 1995. His spirit, always welcoming, will surely attract another praiseworthy project to see him through the current economic slump.
African artwork can now be found at Mwandiko Traders Co. which opened in February at 848 N. High St., located next to Edward Jones on the east block between Haiku and UDF. The inventory of beautiful, reasonably priced art and handcrafted items from Tanzania and its neighboring East African countries, includes paintings, copper relief, jewelry, wooden sculpture, baskets, handbags, masks, utensils, Kuba cloth and other fine works. Owner Agnes Mwandiko likes to refer to her shop as a gallery because galleries in Tanzania – where she was born and raised – include a wide array of items, not just paintings. As a child (with 12 siblings), daily life brought her in touch with artists on the street selling their wares to the public and appreciative tourists. Mingling with these people and their beautiful products enriched her life, and as an adult, Mwandiko says, she began to buy items here and there for her little house. After arriving in the U.S., she spent 10 years selling Tanzanian treasures from her homeland on consignment in Cleveland (where she studied international relations) and in Columbus before opening her own store last month. “Believe me, it is the biggest deal ever to them,” Mwandiko said, referring to her effort to market their products. Her desire to assist and encourage, along with her intent to share a distant culture with the Columbus community, has brought another unique and wonderful shop into the Short North. Enjoy the opportunity to explore and experience genuine African art brought here by a native. Gallery manager Jennifer Jewett, a ceramicist with a degree in fine arts from Alfred University in New York, is in charge of day-to-day-operations and will most likely be there to welcome you. Mwandiko Traders Co.: African Art Dealer is open Wednesday and Thursday Noon to 6 p.m., Friday 1 to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 614-752-1134.
Marcia Evans sent us an email in Februrary, reminding the Gazette that her gallery at 8 E. Lincoln St. will be celebrating five years in operation this month. Obviously proud (and with good reason) of her accomplishment as an esteemed gallery operator for five full years, we congratulate her and wish her continued success. Evans has been in the art consulting business for over 20 years and received a fine arts degree from Ohio University. She worked for six other galleries, and as a home-based corporate art consultant, before opening the retail space in the Short North. She said it’s been an easy run, that her previous experience and contacts helped her tremendously, but one of the main questions she continues to ask herself is why she didn’t do it sooner.
Another gallery owner, Rebecca Ibel, is in the news lately with her decision to close her second gallery space at Two Miranova Place after a seven-year run. Her original gallery at 1055 N. High St. here in the Short North will remain open, and the existing exhibit program consolidated into that space. Ibel pointed out during a phone conversation that there is no need for a small business to have two locations, the economy is tough, and she is travelling a lot more now. “It was an experiment of sorts,” she said when asked about the Miranova opening seven years ago. “The opportunity presented itself, I wasn’t necessarily looking for it, but it came along and it seemed very interesting, and I liked the space. I had a lot of clients who were moving into Miranova One and worked with them for a long time. Things just change, and you just change along with it.”
Speaking of change, a sea change has occurred over at A Muse Gallery in Grandview. Owner Caren Petersen transformed her gallery, its name, and its location. After 12 years, they will be moving their premium art out of Grandview into German Village and become Muse Gallery (without the ‘A’) and Circle Gallery (a division of Circle Galleries LLC). Circle Gallery will serve as a high-end gallery specializing in one-on-one client relationships. The two quaint storefronts at 188 and 190 Whittier St. across from the Brown Bag Deli will be aglow on Friday, March 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. when an all-day reopening party is scheduled. The public is invited to join in. The event will feature brand new work by all of the gallery artists, live music, and catering by Two Caterers. If you want to help celebrate the birth of Muse and Circle galleries, RSVP to gallery manager Hali Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Short North pm gallery owners Maria Galloway and husband Michael Secrest won’t be paying a visit to the neighboring Three Dog Bakery any time soon to purchase a bag of Bakery Blend dog food. Nor will customers of the gallery be greeted again by an inquisitive furry four-legged biscuit beggar named Logan. After eight years as loving companion in shop and home, the German shorthaired pointer mix with the friendly tail wag was laid to rest after experiencing a particularly bad day brought on by diabetes and debilitating seizures. Logan was pm’s third shop dog, and he fulfilled his role perfectly as canine greeter and guard, conversation piece, and lovable distraction for kids in tow. His entrance into their lives was fortuitous, says Galloway. She recalls telling her husband that she was ready for another store dog and in less than a week encountering Logan abandoned outside the shelter house in Goodale Park while at a Short North Business Association board meeting. Unattended, no one knew what to do with him, so she volunteered to take him back to the shop with her son Eli. “I thought he was a puppy because he was so thin,” said Galloway, “and looking at his teeth it’s like no, this is not a puppy, this is an older dog and he’s skin and bones.” They could tell he had been abused, but eventually Logan got over his fear of “tall men in hats, and kids.” His whimsical and devilish humor were fondly recalled. “His ritual every night,” said Galloway, “because he would sleep with Michael and me – he would get into bed, and if he saw that you were coming, he’d get up and move into your space and you’d have to shove him over. It was just sort of this devilish thing he would do.” Two cats (Dot and Bug) remain at home to help fill the pet void there, but for now Logan’s usual place in the gallery has become an empty one, and a continual reminder of their loss.
News about upcoming events in the neighborhood can be found in Community Events and the Bulletin Board.
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