Best Small Art Gallery: moxie DaDA

Pittsburgh - Best Small Art Gallery: moxie DaDA - Main Feature - Main Feature Extra - Pittsburgh City Paper

BY BILL O'DRISCOLL

Conventional wisdom says the blank canvas is every artist's nightmare. For an art-gallery owner, though, it might be another story.

Christine Whispell, at least, seems right at home in the tabula rasa space where she and her colleagues are preparing to transplant moxie DaDA, their 2-year-old gallery.

The new venue is located in The Firehouse Ceramics Studios, an actual old North Side firehouse. And on the gallery's half of the first floor, beneath the high ceilings and fluorescent lights, three big wooden frames -- painted white and hung by chains on the bare brick wall -- suggest naked canvas.

The Arch Street gallery's grand re-opening, on Jan. 6, will be the latest chapter in a story that began when Whispell, a native of upstate New York, moved here in 1994 to attend The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. In 2004, after seven years as a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review news artist, Whispell left to combine her love of art with a long-held desire to run a community space.