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Interactive Artifact and Music Bo(o)x at Abecedarian Gallery: Please touch the books.

Books, says Alicia Bailey of Abecedarian Gallery, are by nature interactive, so it's ironic that the often delicate handmade books she usually exhibits can't be handled too much. But when the two small shows Interactive Artifact and Music Bo(o)x open tonight with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m., the tables will turn, at least a little.

"The gallery is so small," she explains, "I have to keep an eye on things. I'm a little more lenient about this show because of the nature of the work." And she relents a little bit: "If you don't come on First friday, when it's really busy, you can turn a crank or rearrange objects and pick them up and put them down." That's right, you can do just what you naturally want to do with a book.

"That is one of the most appealing things about them," Bailey notes. "Many of these books are one of kind, and they're made of materials that are tactile and rich. Others include elements not necessarily needed to fit under the definition of a book. One is an apron; another piece uses postcards: You buy one of the little components of the piece inexpensively, and then you write a postcard about when you bought it and what you want to do with it." Music Bo(o)x, on the other hand, is a traveling show from Washington, D.C., but no less interactive: One piece, Bailey explains, includes headphones.

Here's a few more sneak peeks:

Interactive Artifact and Music Bo(o)x remain on view at , through August 6. The gallery is open afternoons on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; Bailey suggests dropping by at a quiet time if you really want to get all touchy-feely with the books and artifacts. Call 720-282-4052.

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