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News from Charleston's Art Community

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Gibbes Dollhouse-sized Furniture Sale

As the Gibbes Museum of Art continues to reach out to younger and more diverse visitors, it's decided to clean house by auctioning off 12 miniature rooms, with dinky, period chairs, tables, and all the trimmings. The exquisitely constructed dollhouse-sized models have been on display for two decades; now they're being sold to the highest bidder by Asheville-based Brunk Auctions on Sept. 8.

It's all part of a clean sweep with the new broom of Executive Director Todd Smith, who took the role in summer 2006. To be fair, the Gibbes did attempt to lend or sell the collection to other museums but had no luck, and with storage space tight, the rooms have to go. It's the end of an era for the predictable first floor layout of the downtown art space.

Those wishing to bid for a piece of Gibbes history can preview the rooms on Sept. 7 from 1-8 p.m., with earlier previews by appointment. The auction starts at 9 a.m. the next day. Telephone biddings can be arranged at (828) 254-6846; a phone line reservation must be made. —Nick Smith

Open Studios

It could be one of North Chuck's best-kept secrets: for two years now, the Cultural Arts program there has been running a free open studio for artists, budding and otherwise, concentrating on a different medium each month. The studio is geared to beginners, and professionally run by artists and City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Dept. staff. The next session is devoted to charcoal drawing and will be held at The Meeting Place, 1077 E. Montague Ave. on Sept. 25.

On the Old Navy Base, rooms are available for creative types to rent at $200 a month plus a $50 key deposit. Current renters include fabric artist Cookie Washington, musician Rio Mihal, and photographers Keith Archie, Dereck Curry, and Daniel Lamar. But what really pricked our ears up was the NCCA's offer of open space to artists for a limited amount of free open studio time. It would give artists of different disciplines the chance to meet and critique, collaborate or use for a few hours as individuals. Although we hear a lot of talk about artists' salons, we rarely see it happen. To take advantage of this opportunity, call the Cultural Arts Dept. at (843) 745-1087 to get more details. — Nick Smith

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