Movin' on up

New venues a trend for city's visual arts scene

The operative word for this year's gallery scene was flux as spaces were overhauled, venues changed, nonprofit status secured and collaborations hatched.

Bluemilk, the Spring Street venue for art exhibitions, poetry slams and other indie cultural happenings, secured nonprofit status in early December. Another indie stalwart, the adventurous alternative space Eyedrum, is following suit, fueled by the knowledge that nonprofit status opens the door to obtaining grants to help fund operations. Eyedrum also relocated from a funky Trinity Street semi-dive to a 3,000-square-foot warehouse space at 290 MLK Drive in Cabbagetown.

Another significant gallery relocation occurred on a more established but continually evolving strip of Peachtree Road when Kubatana Moderne, a gallery specializing in African and African-American artists, moved up the street in April to a larger space formerly occupied by Vaknin Schwartz.

After the much lamented closing of the cutting-edge gallery Vaknin Schwartz, co-owner Uri Vaknin recast his relationship to the local arts scene by relocating to a Midtown loft where clients can make an appointment to view works by young, emerging artists.

Less drastic than an actual relocation, Nancy Solomon, owner of the Monroe Drive Solomon Projects, completed an extensive renovation of her storefront space in November. It was designed by architects David Yocum and Brian Bell of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects.

The Atlanta Contemporary Center began exploring the possibility of sharing its space with IMAGE Film & Video Center this year. Preliminary plans for the collaborative art center include a shared 300-seat auditorium. The Contemporary also revamped its main gallery space by dismantling the interior walls, which created a far more expansive, airy space in which to view art. The departure of Contemporary curator Teresa Bramlette also left the tantalizing possibility of an infusion of new blood into the local arts scene as director Sam Gappmayer sorts through local and national resumes to fill the position.

A more high-profile expansion also has been dominating the local arts scene for years now, the High Museum and Atlanta College of Art's major expansion overseen by renowned Italian architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Renzo Piano. It's still in the fund-raising stages. Equally anticipated is the February 2002 opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art - Georgia, which began construction at its 1447 Peachtree St. location this fall and, like so many of these changes, promises to revitalize an ever-changing Atlanta arts scene.??