Charles Street location of Grimaldis Gallery to close

July 12, 1991|By Eric Siegel and John Dorsey

The C. Grimaldis Gallery, the city's most prominent commercial art gallery and a fixture on Charles Street for nearly a decade and a half, is moving out of its location at 523 N. Charles St. after this month and will consolidate its exhibitions at the 1006 Morton St. location it opened 19 months ago.

"It no longer makes sense to have two spaces in Baltimore in this economy," said gallery owner Constantine Grimaldis, who has operated his gallery at 523 N. Charles St. for the past five years and at 928 N. Charles St. for nine years before that.

With the lease on his Charles Street gallery due to expire July 31, Mr. Grimaldis said yesterday it was a "logical move to consolidate the operation" at the "larger, more flexible" Morton Street space.

Mr. Grimaldis opened the latter in March 1990 as a center for sculpture -- for which he hoped to build an international clientele of collectors. But he said having two spaces "divided my attention and energies" and that the recession prevented him from hiring "another key employee" to help him.

At the Morton Street location, which has 50 percent more space than its Charles Street counterpart, Mr. Grimaldis said he will be able to mount monthly shows ranging from large sculptures to small drawings. "Maryland on the Map," a show featuring new works by Grace Hartigan and Eugene Leake as well as works by the late Keith Martin, will open on Morton Street Aug. 1, he said.

Grimaldis' move is the latest in a series of changes in the highly fluid Baltimore art gallery scene.

In the last two years, two of the city's leading galleries closed their doors: George Ciscle (who had the 1006 Morton St. space) in 1989 and G. H. Dalsheimer last March. But other galleries have opened on Charles Street and elsewhere in Baltimore in the same period, notably Knight Gomez in South Baltimore and the BAUhouse, an alternative space, in the 1700 block of Charles Street. Recently Jim Dockery, the former curator of Katzenstein's gallery, moved his Artshowcase to the former Dalsheimer space at 336 N. Charles on what he says will be a "permanent" basis.

Other Charles Street gallery owners lamented Grimaldis' departure from the street, even though the Morton Street space is nearby -- only a half-block west of the thoroughfare and just north of Eager Street.

"I'm shocked and sorry to see him go," said Steven Scott, owner of the Steven Scott Gallery at 515 N. Charles St. "The fewer the galleries, the less reason for people to come downtown. I hope another gallery will move into his space."

"I think it's too bad for Charles Street," said Craig Flinner, who operates the Craig Flinner Gallery at 505 N. Charles St. "I'd

rather have him in the same block as not. I'd rather have thriving business around me."

But Mr. Grimaldis said he didn't think the closing of his Charles Street location would hurt other galleries. "The sensibility of our clientele is much different from that of anyone else in the city," he said.

Nor did he think the move off the well-known corridor would adversely impact his own business. "People come to see what I am showing," he said. "I have few clients who come off the street."

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