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RACINE - Black-Eyed Press, a collaborative print shop and gallery for artists, will open soon at 312 Sixth St.

The owner, Mount Pleasant artist Samira Gdisis, 39, expects to open the Downtown shop about April 1. Her shop website states, "The Black-Eyed Press exists to provide independent artists with feasible workspace, community, as well as outlets for promotion, sales and exhibition."

The studio is named partly for a print Gdisis made of a black-eyed Susan. But also, she commented, "The world is hard on artists."

As a "collaborative," the shop will be used by many artists. It will have monthly memberships so artists can use the print-making press or presses, and open press nights where nonmembers can rent time on them.

The studio will also host art classes, workshops and more.

Gdisis said she started in art designing and making handbags in her basement. She added various art forms and then earned a fine-arts degree, with a concentration in print making, from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She is now a graduate student.

"I have struggled for studio space for 10 years," she said. "What I have experienced is: So is everybody else."

Moreover, print-making presses are expensive, so Gdisis formed her plan for artists to share both space and presses.

Black-Eyed Press will start with a never-used etching, or relief, press that cost Gdisis about $4,000. She plans to next add one or two letterpresses which could be used for small runs of art books, among other things.

Later, she would also like to acquire a press for large relief prints.

"Maintaining a print shop requires a fair amount of space, quick access to solvents, water, acids, heat and other tools which is not feasible in a normal household setting," her website explains. "It also requires safety standards not practical in the residential setting."

Artist members will be able to use the presses and show their work in the gallery. Eventually, when Gdisis has a security system in place, they will be able to use the equipment at any time.

Monthly artist memberships will cost:

• $50 for students.

• $75 for emerging artists less than two years out of school.

• $100 for community or professional artists.

Besides the studio itself, the Black-Eyed Press website will promote artists' works, Gdisis said. The gallery will host frequent shows.

"(The plan) just keeps growing," she said, "and I'm not one to say, ‘Let's scale it back.'"

For more information visit www.blackeyedpress.com or after Friday call (262) 898-2880.

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Reporter

Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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