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ARTIST'S HAT DOUBLES AS HER GALLERY

Buyers of Frieda Dan's artworks don't find them on an art-gallery wall. They pluck them off her head.

Dan's works are displayed on a custom-made headpiece similar to a top hat - but with miniature drawings attached. Her latest exhibit, "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth," features 4- by 5-inch intaglio etchings of bugs and jellyfish drawn against cityscapes and landscapes.That's how she shows her works in stately art museums across the country. Dan goes in unannounced, pays her admission like anyone else and then unfurls her gallery out of her hat box. She said she does not impose herself on other museum patrons - most eventually approach her, look closely at the drawings and start talking to her.

Dan, 36, of Augusta, Ga., studied art at the University of Tennessee. In Indiana recently to show the exhibit, she said Indianapolis was the last stop on her current 15-city tour.

"I'm astonished. I think it's wonderful," said Virginia Snow, special events coordinator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. "It's like the troubadours when they would go around shouting their wares."

Not all museum employees have been as enthusiastic. In a Washington, D.C., gallery, guards said she had to check her portfolio - Dean said she always carries additional work with her.

"On my way to do that one of the guards said, `And you'll have to remove your hat."'

She wound up being evicted from the museum. But she did get a refund on her admission.