Two arts institutions end their runs: the iron belly muses theatre company and the South Congress visual arts venue Gallery 1313.
When the iron belly muses' production of Pains of Youth ends its run, the company will, too. Co-founding artistic directors Rebecca Nell Robertson and Sharon Sparlin announced via e-mail on Monday that they have decided to dissolve the company and pursue new projects and other interests. They formed the muses three years ago with a mission of developing and producing work by women and about women and women's issues, and they pursued it with distinction. Charging out of the gates with a dynamic revival of Troilus and Cressida, directed by Sparlin, the muses immediately announced themselves as a company to watch, and their follow-up production of Paula Vogel's Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, with sterling ensemble work and fine direction by Deanna Shoemaker, just confirmed their creative potential. Other shows included Seven Deadly Sins, featuring short plays the muses had commissioned from women playwrights; Curieosity, an inventive, movement-based look at the lives of Marie Curie and her husband Pierre; Barren Fields, by David W. Crawford; Viva Castro! A Comedic Revolution, written and performed by Carie Esquenazi; Mud, by Maria Irene Fornes; Not I, by Samuel Beckett; and the current Pains of Youth, all of which displayed a kind of theatrical ingenuity that was becoming the muses' trademark. Nine shows over three years may seem a rather small legacy, but Robertson and Sparlin say in their e-mail that "we have accomplished what we set out to do" and are "ready to move on to the next set of challenges."
Before they do, however, they want to try to recoup some of the costs of producing those nine shows. So, on Sunday, April 27, the company will hold a going-out-of-business sale at 5010 Ave. F in the Hyde Park area. Up for grabs will be hardware, fresnels and halogen lights, extension cords, headsets, paint, office and cleaning supplies, and various costumes, fabrics, other soft goods, and props. A full list is posted at www.ironbellymuses.org/close_inventory.shtml. And, of course, you can always help send the muses off with a bang by seeing their final performance of Pains of Youth this Saturday at the Blue Theater, 916 Springdale. For information, call 459-7007.
A belated goodbye is also in store for Gallery 1313, the South Congress arts space that was next door and up the stairs from the Continental Club. Launched in December 2001, Gallery 1313 showed an eclectic range of contemporary art, from work by painters and sculptors from Marfa-area artists such as Monte Schatz and Abby Levine, San Antonio artist Ken Little, and local artists such as Mark Schatz, Rory Skagen, Christa Blackwood, Brian Cross, Jason Archer, Paul Beck, and painter Ralph White, whose notable show provided a seven-decade retrospective of a local arts legend. The gallery closed earlier this month.