At a time when economic uncertainty makes a new gallery venture seem especially daunting, Stephanie Rond has found an all-around low-risk option for showing work by local artists. It’s about three feet wide by two feet tall, and sits on a vintage ironing board in the dining room of her Clintonville home.
S.Dot Gallery began life as just another dollhouse, which Rond picked up at the Ohio Antique Mall and renovated into a two-story white cube with faux concrete floors and a track of white string lights.
Starting with a show of her own paintings in July, Rond’s presented monthly exhibitions of miniature works by artists including Amandda Tirey Graham, Helma Groot, Doug Fordyce and Cat Sheridan. Each is documented with photos on the gallery’s Facebook page.
“Miniatures are a huge thing in art, but I haven’t seen anyone do a gallery space,” Rond said.
“It’s fun, but it’s serious,” she added. “Every artist to show has taken it seriously, which I really appreciate.”
Rond’s intent is clear in her remarkable attention to detail. S.Dot includes two bathrooms and a fully appointed director’s desk with a miniature guest book for visitors to sign. Furnishings suggest someone’s made a trip to a tiny IKEA location. There’s even a toy gallery cat named Nico.
For artists, the space presents a unique challenge to create work that’s impactful even when shrunk, using materials to fit. Rond explained that Groot made her signature mobiles out of Shrinky Dinks, while Sheridan created an installation out of Lincoln Logs.
Rond gives each artist a day for installation, which includes selecting furniture to fit the mood. She reinvests the small commission she takes from sales to expand the artists’ options and install more lifelike amenities, like the tampon dispenser Rond proudly displayed as a recent find from Europe.
Cyrus Fire, who has reproductions of drawings from his sketchbooks up this month, said, “It does go by quickly. Hanging the show is one thing, but then deciding what furniture to go in. But it was way more fun than I thought it would be.”
According to March’s artist, Kim Webb, the space can also create opportunities. Her planned installation, “There There,” will celebrate the comforts of home through practical additions to the gallery like a staircase and insulation.
“With the cost of materials, at a normal scale, there’s no way I could do this. These are like models, or tests for larger work,” she said.
This savings extends to collectors as well, with works usually ranging from $10 to $40. They may not fill up a wall well, but they can inspire clever hanging solutions. One patron has attached magnets to her S.Dot purchases and displays the collection on her refrigerator.