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Art gallery closing, owner opening new space

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The J27 Art Gallery at 27th and J streets in Midtown will shut down Saturday, but co-owner Susan Rabinovitz will be opening a smaller gallery and boutique called Little Relics Boutique and Galleria, specializing in jewelry and other fine arts.

“After six months (of running J27), I did a financial analysis on it, and on paper, we were somewhat making the bills, but it was starting to spiral downward, and we were heading into the slow months (January through April) for the art world,” Rabinovitz said Thursday.

Faced with the financial shortfall, Rabinovitz and co-owner Michael Shane decided to shut it down, she said, adding that her line of jewelry – which was sold at the gallery – was profitable, and she decided to open a new space to house that business as well as some local artists’ works.

“Little Relics has actually been around for a long time,” she said. “It started out as a home business and hobby, and I eventually got into galleries.”

Rabinovitz said she was interested in art from an early age and learned the basics of working in metals while watching her father work with metals when she was a child. Currently taking courses on setting diamonds and other precious stones, she said her goal by next year is to be a jewelry repair technician.

She described her work as hand-made, mostly contemporary pieces.

The 450-square-foot space at 908 21st St. will not just be a jewelry boutique, as several established artists will have rotating displays, and an art internship program will allow students to learn about a gallery’s workings and then show their work in the space.

One of the established artists to be featured in the gallery will be Eric Decetis, who is best-known for his greeting cards and cartoons that have appeared in Hustler Magazine.

“I’m looking forward to being in there,” he said Thursday. “They’ve got some big plans, and they’re going to be marketing me not just in Sacramento but across the country and maybe even in Europe.”

His works in the gallery will likely be a rotation of about a dozen at a time, and all will be originals – not prints. While the gallery does not have exclusive rights to represent his work in the city, he said there are currently no plans to show it anywhere else, making it the only place to pick up his originals in the city.

“I think it’s a great location, specifically for my art,” he said.

Rabinovitz said the location is a prime spot, as it is near the hub of Second Saturday Art Walks and is near numerous other galleries.

She added that she plans to host monthly events for kids, where she will show them how to make art from everyday household objects as well as giving them a place to work with common media such as paints and Play-Doh.

“I want to try to teach them how to make art with items you’d find around the house so they don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of stuff,” she said, noting that the kids’ days will be free of charge, but donations are welcome.

One of the focuses at the J27 Gallery was to provide a spot for local artists, and Rabinovitz said that is still a principle at the new space.

Local artist Denise Coleman will regularly show her watercolor still lifes as well as custom furniture made from preexisting items.

“This is the first time in a long time I’ve shown furniture to the public,” Coleman said Thursday, adding that it has been about a decade since the last time she did. “I’m using a lot of reclaimed stuff – incorporating old and new things, like repurposed windows and found lumber.”

One of Coleman’s recent works is the host stand at The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar, which opened last week.

Little Relics is set to have a soft opening Tuesday, and a grand opening with a reception will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. Feb. 25, Rabinovitz said. In addition to Coleman’s and Decetis’ work, local photographer David Arnold will have works at the reception.

Monthly shows are planned with three events to draw in art lovers, Rabinovitz said. The Thursday before each Second Saturday Art Walk will be a preview of the show, and the gallery will stay open later on those days, during Second Saturday and for a “grand finale” event toward the end of the month.

Hours will be from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. for special events.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.

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