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DC’s Signal 66 Gallery to close

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Thursdays, according to the mid page banner on page two of the Washington Post’s Style section, is supposed to focus on Art Galleries and Art News.

Over the last three years or so, the third Thursday of the month has seen the “Galleries” column do a set of mini-reviews, while the “Arts Beat” column, which used to come out every Thursday, has all but disappeared and now comes out every two weeks. I like the mini-review format once a month, but I regret the loss of the weekly “Arts Beat” column.

In today’s “Galleries” column Jessica Dawson delivers a set of mini-reviews and reveals that Signal 66, one of her favorite galleries over the years, is closing at the end of the month.

However, much like the cosa nostra kiss she gave the Troyer Gallery when that gallery closed earlier this year, she sends Signal 66 away with:

“After nearly six years mounting some of the city’s grittiest art shows, Signal 66 shutters its doors at month’s end. More whimper than bang, the final show collects a trio of artists working in the most traditional of all media: paint.”

Most commercial galleries close within a year or two; it’s a tough business that is best approached realizing that if you decide to open a gallery, then expect to lose money.

Signal 66’s folding is somewhat of a surprise though. It had established a good, strong footprint in our area’s art scene, and being a cooperative type, artist-run gallery, it had the gallery formula that has allowed this area’s longest running commercial art galleries to survive.

In fact, other than Zenith and Kathleen Ewing, I can’t think of any commercial art galleries in our area that has been around for 25 years or longer that is NOT a cooperative, artist-run gallery!

Anyway, I will miss Signal 66 and the terrific contribution that they made over the last five years to our area’s cultural tapestry.

P.S. By the way there are also three music and one theatre review in today’s “Galleries focus” day at the Style section. They actually have more print space than Jessica’s review. Does anyone understand why we keep insisting that the Post visual arts coverage sucks? You can complain to Gene Robinson, the Style section editor.

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