Already ensconced in the old G.C. Murphy five-and-dime store on The Avenue in Hampden, Avenue Antiques has now expanded into the old Ideal Theatre building next door.

On Friday at 4 p.m., on the eve of Hampdenfest 2012, Avenue Antiques owner Elissa Strati will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Ideal, 903 W. 36th St, as a kickoff to Hampdenfest the next day. Baltimore City "PEPLT00007634">Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is expected to cut the ribbon, joined by Councilman Nick Mosby.

Preceding that ceremony will be the unveiling of artwork the Walters Art Museum installed on an outside wall of Avenue Antiques, as part of its "Off The Wall" project to promote public art citywide.

The museum is replicating a variety of paintings on weather-resistant vinyl, placing them in period-correct frames and mounting them to commercial walls, according to an Avenue Antiques press release..


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The unveiling in Hampden, billed as a "sneak preview," is set for 3:30 p.m., at Elm Avenue and West 36th. The artwork will be on the wall for six to eight months, Strarti said.

The unveiling and ribbon-cutting are also tiimed to coincide with First Friday in Hampden, a monthly merchants' event in which retail stores stay open well into the night and offer sales and discounts.

"First Fridays have really taken off," said Strati, whose expanded store will have a sale as well.

"We're very excited to be working with the Walters," she said Thursday. "They bring art to the people."

Avenue Antiques, 901 W. 36th St., is home to dozens of antique sellers. Strati opened the original Avenue Antiques in 2003 with about a dozen tenants. Now, there are about 60, counting 20 new ones in the expanded space, she said.

The expansion into the old theater increase Avenue Antique's overall space by about 50 percent, Strati said.

The Ideal opened in 1908 as a nickelodeon and closed in 1963. It was leased to the Salvation Army for about 30 years before Strati and her husband, Alfred bought the building in 2005 and rehabbed it extensively. They leased it to Woodward's, an antiques gallery and auction theater, which relocated in March to the city's arts district, Elissa Strati said.