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Somerhill Gallery files for Chapter 11, plans to continue operations

Another ding on Durham's art mantle -- though one suspects that this one has more to do with the economy than anything endemic to the Bull City.

Somerhill Gallery filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, according to a notice in the News & Observer today and a short piece in the Herald-Sun this afternoon.

The Roxboro St. art gallery is the sole retail presence in the Venable Center managed by Scientific Properties, and one of the largest retailers downtown. Its 2008 arrival from Chapel Hill's Eastgate Shopping Center into much-larger new digs made a splash in the local art market -- and marked a meteoric expansion just on the verge of the greatest recession in generations.

Owner Joe Rowand is quoted in the H-S as saying the reorganization will "allow us to continue business with exciting plans for the future."

Scientific Properties COO Gary Kueber confirmed to BCR this afternoon that to the best of his knowledge Somerhill would continue operations as normal, and noted a significant nationwide downturn in the market for high-end art such as that at Somerhill, one of the more renowned galleries in the southeastern US.

It marks the second gallery closure in a year for Scientific, which has long had a focus on the arts in its work and the private redevelopment work of founder Andy Rothschild before. Branch Gallery closed in early 2009, though its organizers told the Indy Weekly that their closure had been planned before the downturn.

Meanwhile, LabourLove Gallery has spunkily survived its first year, and will be celebrating with an anniversary party next Friday. More on that at BCR next week.


amy Tornquist

Just want to say that we all still have a great opportunity to support our neighbor, Joe Rowand, and help him exit his reorganization quickly and efficiently. He has wonderful jewelry, photos, ornaments, etc. Every reader who hasn't visited Somerhill should go today. Part of the "buy local" mantra applies especially to places like Somerhill and Joe Rowand, who has supported Durham 100% in the short time he has been in town.


From yesterday's Herald-Sun
I guess this means they're closing?? Hope not!

08.25.10 - 06:53 pm
Somerhill files for liquidation

DURHAM -- Somerhill Gallery filed a motion to convert its Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation Wednesday.

The gallery in Venable Center on Roxboro Road originally filed for Chapter 11 in May, citing $1 million to $10 million in liabilities and listing landlord Scientific Properties among its creditors. The gallery had six employees.

Somerhill opened in 1972 as one of the area's few art galleries. In 2008, after the new manager of Chapel Hill's Eastgate Shopping Center terminated its lease, the gallery moved to Durham.

Joe Smith

Well damm. aint that something! Looks like Joe has been treating artists greasy in Durham for quite a while! Good work Durham, you really attract the pick of the litter!

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