H. Elaine Jackson has been struggling for seven years to make a go of her graphics gallery on Capitol Hill, but now she's afraid the economy may force her to close Capitol East Graphics. Jackson, who specializes in contemporary European, American and African printmakers, with an emphasis on black artists, has decided to take a four-month "experimental sabbatical," shutting down the gallery while she assesses her future.

"For the last two years it's been downhill," says Jackson, who feels that her experience parallels that of many other small gallery owners. "We're all frightened, watching the closings all around us. Everyone's feeling the pinch, customers are more conservative, corporate sales are down . . ."

Although graphics are her main interest, Jackson says she may switch her focus to functional and wearable art. She may also move her shop from the Edwardian townhouse she owns at 600 E St. SE to Pennsylvania Avenue. "I don't want to abandon the printed medium for the sake of staying alive," she says, "but there's a matter of pride in this business. I want to hang in."

"Printworks in Black and White," including work by 15 artists represented by Jackson, is on view through Monday at Market 5 Gallery (Eastern Market). Call 547-8246.