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Posted on Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Dancing Dog Gallery to open in former Herb David Guitar Studio building

By Lizzy Alfs


Dancing Dog Gallery, a cooperative art gallery, plans to open in the former Herb David Guitar Studio building in downtown Ann Arbor.

Lizzy Alfs |

The former Herb David Guitar Studio on Ann Arbor’s East Liberty Street is getting new life as a cooperative art gallery.

Dancing Dog Gallery, a member-owned and operated gallery founded by eight local artists, plans to open this summer on the first and second floors at 302 E. Liberty St. Visiting artists also can participate and display work.

“We’re excited just to share the art we have with the community,” said Missy Cowan, one of the gallery’s founding artists. “We’re all a closely knit community of artists, and all of us feel that there aren’t enough venues in this area for really talented artists to show their work.”

“We wanted to have a home for our art where people could come and see it and interact with it,” she continued.

Herb David Guitar Studio occupied the building on the corner of East Liberty Street and South Fifth Avenue for 30 years. David announced plans to retire in March, closing his iconic business several weeks later.

Ann Arbor Guitars, a repair shop owned by former Herb David employees, is located on the third floor of the building. After Herb David closed, the remaining space was listed for lease for $4,000 per month with Reinhart Commercial’s Bela Sipos.

“I had a number of suitors immediately,” Sipos said, regarding the vacated space. “The key was, we needed to find someone who could use both the first and second floor.”

Colliers International’s Patrich Jett represented Dancing Dog Gallery in the deal.

The artists behind Dancing Dog Gallery are painters, sculptors, photographers and mixed media artists, specializing in contemporary, original fine art. They are from Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelsea and Ypsilanti.

Cowan said the gallery is undergoing renovations, and will open later this summer or early fall.

The gallery will be located on the first floor, with eight private work studios on the second floor that artists can lease.

“We were thrilled to find the space, it’s going to be perfect,” Cowan said. “It just has a great ambiance. We love the historical vibe, and it's just charming.”

The founding artists of the Dancing Dog Gallery are: Matruka Sherman, Bill Knudstrup, Sophie Grillet, Sarah Clark Davis, Missy Cowan, Susan Clinthorne, Molly Indura and Sue Finley.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 4 a.m.

I wholeheartedly support the "Dancing Dogs" tenants. Sincerely hope their rent is south of the stated $4K per month = $48,000 a year! Wow! Dancing Dogs would have to sell a Ton of art to pay the rent! Yins gotta admit, a lot of A2 "art" is not marketable. Lots of Quazy "Artists" in A2. Avant Garde? I dint think so. But marketable art? I Hope the "Dogs" display some . . . just sayin' . . .


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 4:39 a.m.

@amlive. Herb is a Good Man! I have known him for nearly 40 yrs. Love the Dude! I'm thinking that, consistent with his retirement monetary needs, Herb will support the "Dogs!" Would like to see Art Kick Butt downtown!!!


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 4:22 a.m.

Remember they are renting the second floor as well to rent out studio space to artists. If they can fill these rooms, that could cover a good chunk of their rent right there. As to the overall price, I imagine this space must be around 2500 square feet with the two floors combined. That would put rent in the ballpark of $20/sq ft, which seems a bit low if anything for the location. Actually I'm curious why the rent price came up at all in the article. Doesn't seem like the owners/renters/realtors would see that as anyone's business but their own.

Dirty Mouth

Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

Going out of business in 3,2,1...

Dr. Fate

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Dancing Dog? I was expecting a dance yoga studio with that name.

vicki honeyman

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

very exciting news! and what a great location!


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

I am so excited for this addition to Ann Arbor. Matruka Sherman!! Sophie Grillet!! These are wonderful artists! As well as the others.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

This is a fantastic idea. I have a black lab that shows a lot of tricks and can stand on it's hind legs. I am really excited about getting him to learn more, never thought about dancing. Can't wait !


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

I wonder what the cost is to lease one of the private artist spaces? I'd be interested..

Lizzy Alfs

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

@Nicole - Not sure about that yet. You could try emailing them:


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Can't wait! Looks amazing! I hope they will have prints/ pieces of the Artwork for resale!


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2 p.m.

I must be getting out a lot more than before because sometimes by the time I read it here, I already have seen and know the main ideas for myself. Thanks for filling in all the details. The rent seems to high. They are going to have to sell a lot to make a profit. I love to see "Mom and Pop" creative businesses. I wish them well.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Chalk up another one for the "boutiqueification" of downtown.


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

I suppose you'd prefer a Burger King?


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

Sending hugs to Brad! (((hugs)))

Peter Baker

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Brad really needs a hug.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

A locally owned store serving artists with instruments, lesson studios, and service now becomes a locally owned building rented to local artisans for studio space, selling of their arts, and on top of that, still servicing musicians' instruments. Short of another music store opening up there, I can't imagine a more perfect transition for this space. I think the Davids deserve kudos for finding the right local tenants for this building and area rather than letting it become another Starbucks or law office.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

A music studio becomes an art gallery. How does that add up to "boutiqueification?" It's not like the art gallery is moving into a former pool hall or Gold's Gym or facial hair wig store.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

What if the neighbors have issues with the barking dogs?

jay bee

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

A great addition to the Ann Arbor arts community and a perfect location! Welcome!