Increased development and the continued growth of the bar and restaurant scene may be changing the character of the Short North, but its status as an arts district is about to get a major shot in the arm. This Friday brings the opening of Hammond Harkins Galleries at the corner of N. High and Russell, in close proximity to The Pizzuti Collection and neighborhood fixture Brandt-Roberts Galleries.

Increased development and the continued growth of the bar and restaurant scene may be changing the character of the Short North, but its status as an arts district is about to get a major shot in the arm. This Friday brings the opening of Hammond Harkins Galleries at the corner of N. High and Russell, in close proximity to The Pizzuti Collection and neighborhood fixture Brandt-Roberts Galleries.

A longtime fixture on Main Street in Bexley, Hammond Harkins Galleries has earned a reputation as one of the city's best, representing such local legends as Aminah Robinson and Denny Griffith. Owner Mariana Hammond Keyes had been considering a move to the Short North for a while, with some prompting by neighborhood developer Mark Wood of Wood Companies. A combination of the right space and the right time sealed the deal.

As the gallery's registrar, Chet Domitz, explained, "When Mark showed her this property, she was able to envision a great space for exhibiting artwork. The location was perfect, plus there's an energy in the Short North that's palpable. All of us at Hammond Harkins Galleries wanted to be part of that."

For the big reveal, artists Laura Alexander and Andrea Myers will be filling the space with their individual experiments with paper. They were already scheduled for a fall show in Bexley, but when the move arose, "we realized the two of them were perfect for the inaugural exhibition in the new space," Domitz said.

Alexander will debut more of her mind-boggling paper cutout creations, with a fresh yet subtle infusion of color.

"The color in all of this work is reflected color," she explained. "I painted the back of the paper to strategically place colors. I started with neons because of their reflective qualities, but found that more subtle colors work, too."

For her contribution, Myers will share pieces from her small, dimensional Hollows Series and revive an installation she made with OSU interior design professor Jeff Haase consisting of 14 papier mache and steel wire mesh panels, with some alterations for the new space.

"We're 'flipping the script' on the piece and installing it vertically, suspended the panels," she said.

Through placement at the end of the long, narrow venue, along with carefully placed lighting and the application of color to only one side of the panels, she intends to create within the new gallery "a glowing internal space."