Artshowcase closing shop after 3 years

August 14, 1993|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

Artshowcase, an art gallery at 336 N. Charles St. devoted to showing the works of Maryland artists, will close on Aug. 28, at the end of its current show. J. E. Dockery, who operated the gallery on Charles Street since June 1991, said yesterday that he will continue acting as an agent for Maryland artists to sell from their studios.

Artshowcase first opened at the Baltimore Design Center at North and Howard streets in 1990 and moved to Charles Street the following year. In the three years the gallery was open, Mr. Dockery said, he sold $100,000 worth of art. "That isn't enough to cover the nut, being the overhead for a first-class gallery on Charles Street," he said.

Mr. Dockery, who teaches theater history, acting and directing at Loyola College, has also been an art curator for 10 years. He first ran a not-for-profit gallery in the old Loyola building on Calvert Street where Center Stage is located, then curated shows at Katzentstein's Gallery at Scarlett Place before opening his own gallery. The current show, of commissioned portraits, is the 100th he has curated, he said.

The economy has hampered art sales, he said. "We had 200 to 400 people at every opening. They were enthusiastic appreciators, but the bottom line is buyers."

The space at 336 N. Charles St. has housed an art gallery since the mid-1980s. The G. H. Dalsheimer Gallery, which closed in March 1991, preceded Artshowcase there. Kemp Byrne, owner of the building, was uncertain of the future of the space but said he had been contacted by another art gallery about the possibility of leasing it. He declined to name the gallery.

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