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Confirming the latest buzz, internationally renowned art dealer George R. N’Namdi disclosed to MT late last week the details of his gallery’s impending move back to Detroit after 12 years at its current Birmingham address. “We’ve acquired a complex of two buildings on Forest, just east of Woodward — what was once Campus Collision and a daycare center. The combined space is 17,000 square feet which we’ll develop into three or four galleries, an ‘art-leaning’ bookstore, a coffee shop and café.” The three-phase project will begin with the George R. N’Namdi Gallery’s relocation in late spring, then will expand to house the other galleries by mid-summer, with a grand opening of the whole project set for October.

“That’ll also be our 20th anniversary in the art business … we’re trying to make a major impact in the community by adding our energy to the ongoing Cultural Center developments.”

Although still seeking establishments to join the venture, N’Namdi was specific about plans for his own space: “We’d like to have a jazz series associated with the gallery — like once a month on a Thursday night (our late night) and monthly poetry readings or book signings on another Thursday evening. And we’ll be open Sundays, because people work so hard now that taking off work to visit us during the week is usually out of the question.”

But N’Namdi’s anticipation of 15-foot ceilings and spacious walls is just part of his motivation: “Art is one business that doesn’t depend on the public already being somewhere before a gallery can move in. People follow art, come looking for it. And we’ll actually get more pedestrian traffic in Detroit than in Birmingham. With all the development in the Cultural Center, we’ll have more of an urban feel to our art scene.”

The Hot & the Bothered is edited by MT arts editor George Tysh. E-mail him at gtysh@metrotimes.com.

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