The newest addition to the Short North arts scene is not new at all. After 18 years in Bexley, Hammond Harkins Galleries has found a new home in the popular arts district. It wasn't an easy decision.

A reenergized Hammond Harkins Galleries has a vibrant new home in the Short North.

The newest addition to the Short Northarts scene is not new at all. After 18 years in Bexley, Hammond Harkins Galleries has found a new home in the popular arts district. It wasn't an easy decision.

On a recent October day in her gallery's new space, Hammond Harkins owner Marlana Hammond Keynes ruminates about her past life in Bexley: Watching the activity on the Capital University campus, saying hello to longtime friends walking their dogs past her East Main Street gallery. "I loved Bexley," Keynes says. "But when [developer] Mark Wood first brought me into this space, I really thought, 'I have to reconsider.' I could envision how it could look and how it could be, but I thought 'Oh boy, after 18 years, do I really want to do this?'"

Keynes says her staff was enthusiastic about the new spot, the former location of Bungalow, a home furnishings store. And when she brought in artists to get their opinions, they also saw the possibilities. "Finally, there was no reason why I shouldn't [make the move]," Keynes says.

"Marlana likes to keep things fresh," says the gallery's curator, Laura Savage. "This opportunity appeared, and we all sat down as a team and ultimately decided to go for it. It's reenergized everybody."

Savage says the move has worked out even better than she imagined.

"The dynamics of the Short North are terrific. This whole block is just full of energy," she says, citing the mix of restaurants and shops, as well as other galleries, including the Pizzuti Collection.

Those institutions and the Short North Alliance, the nonprofit organization that represents businesses and property owners in the neighborhood, have helped make the transition smooth. "The Short North Alliance is so excited to welcomeHammondHarkinsto the Short North Arts District," says Betsy Pandora, executive director of the Short North Alliance. "We've already seen incredible energy in that location now that the gallery is open and look forward to all that they will do in the Short North Arts District."

The gallery opened in October withWhite Noise, an exhibition of three-dimensional works by longtime Hammond Harkins Galleries artists Laura Alexander and Andrea Myers. "I chose these two artists because they have exhibited together before, both here and elsewhere, and because it shows well in this space," Keynes says.

Keynes, who operated the gallery in her Lancaster hometown prior to moving to Bexley, says her new location's high ceilings, large windows and long, clean white walls allow for a variety of artistic configurations that benefit both curators and patrons. "[White Noisehad] a large installation, which we couldn't have done before. We want people to come in and have a place to sit if they like and to just be a very user-friendly gallery."

The gallery's current exhibit,Small Wonderful, features all of the gallery's partner artists showing small creations made especially for this exhibition. In January, the gallery will show new works by former Columbus College of Art & Design president Denny Griffith. The exhibit, titledAnother World, is in conjunction with an exhibit of Griffith's work at CCAD's Canzani Center organized by Michael Goodson in collaboration with Griffith.