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.