In terms of curb appeal, Redding’s newest creative space is more utility than artistry. But reserve judgment until you step inside the welcoming, open, well-lit spot on a charming strip of Redding’s west side. The walls at SmallShots, a former tax office turned art gallery, are the perfect tableau for images from nature and around-the-world travels by Bob Small, a former tax man turned full-time photographer.
Bob, who moved to Redding in the 1970s, operated a tax business and photography gallery for 17 years in the once-roofed Market Street Promenade, formerly known as the downtown mall. By 1986, this downtown Redding revitalization pioneer, frustrated by downtown’s lack of momentum and the mall’s slow but sure demise, moved his business to its current location on Old Eureka Way, operating successfully until 2006.
By then, “the financial services didn’t pan out as I’d hoped,” admits Small, describing the dip in his business that coincided with a serious dip in the economy. So, when the going gets tough, the creative get going. Bob gave the building a much-needed facelift, made a gallery out of six small offices, found some long-term tenants and shifted his focus to fine art photography.
Bob has a cache of photographs to prove that he’s always had a finger on the shutter. “It’s all been buried,” Small said excitedly about 15 to 20 years worth of travel photography that he is slowly unearthing for a full-scale gallery show this week.
SmallShots is a showroom for a larger body of work available on Bob’s website. Fans of his work can have his “Wildflowers,” “California Waterfalls” or “Paris Views” in a traditional framed format, or on a not-so-traditional mouse pad, coffee cup or playing cards.
I must admit that Bob is smart to develop a web-based mechanism to sell his work. He’s realistic about the earning potential of a brick-and-mortar gallery. But he has big tentative plans for his new space, including guest artists, travel talks and the possibility of morphing the gallery into a cooperative. For now, though, Bob is having a good time settling into his re-invented exhibit space.
Even though SmallShots barely has its toes in Redding’s city center, Bob seems eager to once again make a contribution to downtown’s cultural landscape. “I’ve always been a west-sider,” says Bob proudly. “I still keep an eye on downtown.”
Join Bob to celebrate the opening of SmallShots Studio and Gallery. The three-day party starts with open houses today (Dec. 9) and Friday (Dec. 10) from 3 to 8 p.m. SmallShots opens its doors again at 11 a.m. Saturday (Dec. 11) and the party will continue for Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop, held Saturday until 9 p.m.
SmallShots is at 2536 Old Eureka Way, between Walnut and Almond Avenues, across Eureka Way from Shasta High School. For more information, visit smallshotsgallery.com.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your NorthState weekend events to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This portrait of Adam Mankoski was created by Shasta High School students Chance Norman and Kenzi Bell.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.