Hard times for art galleries these days. In a sluggish economy, art, for many people, becomes an expendable luxury -- something to look at, maybe, but not to buy. For those with weak willpower, even looking may become too great a temptation to risk. And so established galleries close; new ones fail to materialize. The Carone Gallery is different. Matthew Carone runs a serious gallery for serious collectors: so serious, in fact, that the gallery, just off Las Olas Boulevard, is open by appointment only. No waltzing in off the street to browse. But Carone, himself a widely respected painter who had a small, excellent one-man show at the Boca Raton Museum of Art last year, is important for another reason. For the past two years, he has joined Susan Buzzi and the Broward Art Guild in saving the Hortt Competition after it was abandoned by Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art. The guild's gallery was a woefully inadequate display space for the large show, so Carone graciously volunteered his gallery. For that alone, the area arts community should be eternally grateful to him.