O Street Gallery and Oregon Street Antique Mall
● By Kimberly Boney
Art MovementApril 2015
By Kimberly Boney
Photos: Eric Leslie
It's been said that it takes a village to raise a child. The same adage holds true for the longtime vision that Kate and Philip Barker had for the second story of the old building at the corner of Shasta and Oregon Streets in Downtown Redding. Nine years ago, when the Barkers acquired the building, the dream of something incredible was planted within them. Their “baby,” the idea of creating an art gallery, had taken root, nurtured by their passion for art and antiques. But that dream would lie dormant as other businesses, owners and the rush of life itself filled the space.
It took nearly a decade and a series of circumstances before their vision came to life. In 2014, when the previous owners of The Oregon Street Antique Mall dissolved the business and left the well-established name and location up for grabs in the building already owned by the Barkers, they decided to keep the party going. On April 1, 2014, the Barkers began a new adventure and a village of creative, like-minded individuals joined forces. Six months later, The O Street Gallery, having been loved for years before it ever took form, was born.
“Redding should be a center for the arts in the Central Valley, and we see this as a first step in making this happen,” Kate Barker says. “We both love art in its myriad forms and when we’ve traveled we make it a point to visit some type of art gallery or museum. And the connection to antiques is natural. Some of the most precious antiques were at one time part of an art movement, so the antique store is a perfect venue. Last year things seemed to fall into place—the right people in the right place.”
Interior designer Shelly Shively and her twin sister Doni Chamberlain, owner of A News Café, share a booth at the Oregon Street Antique Mall. The duo often had conversations with the Barkers about their dream of creating “an artistic and cultural hub” in Redding. Shively’s extensive design background, coupled with her eye for beauty and her ability to work with many personalities simultaneously, made her the ideal curator for a gallery that would become home to award-winning North State artists.
“The building is ‘old Redding’, with so much character and charm,” Shively says. “I immediately envisioned the gallery as a wide open space with gallery walls, floors and ceilings painted white, track lighting and a wire cable system for hanging art. The Barkers were gracious to extend this vision to include an open floor space for art classes and receptions facing the gallery. I wanted to reflect the history of the building and the urban loft style with rustic metal walls and a mid-century modern seating area.”
Shively painted the gallery area from top to bottom, covering what she describes as a “kaleidoscope of colors” that were remnants from former vendor booths. Tim Freeman, who shares two booths with his wife in the antique store, installed hundreds of feet of lighting and the cable hanging system.
Vicki Bonnell, also an antique vendor and employee at The Oregon Street Antique Mall, used her background in design to help Shively bring the loft concept to fruition. “The ‘50s and ‘60s has always been my specialty and favorite design style since I started selling my wares,” says Bonnell. The old, rusty corrugated metal sheets that serve as the reception area walls were a “treasure” Shively and Bonnell found at a junkyard.
Gallery artists Chuck Prudhomme and Kathleen Lawrence Davis serve as creative consultants, mentors for other exhibitors and art instructors for the gallery, where exhibits change every three months.
“Part of the journey is supporting other artists. This isn’t just a classic gallery. It’s not just static. Visitors are witnessing art in action,” says Prudhomme.
Amanda Smith, manager of The Oregon Street Antique Mall, is no stranger to creativity. As a long time artist and antique enthusiast, she brings practical experience, passion and a cheerful, helpful presence to the store. “We are literally a tribe of treasure hunters. Our vendors provide beautiful booths and a genuine, happy reception that takes you away from chaos and stress,”
The Barkers know just what it takes to make a dream grow. “We put ourselves through college with our own janitorial company. We took a two-man chemical business operating out of our garage and turned it into an internationally recognized chemical technology company with more than 70 employees doing business in various parts of the world. This business eventually sold to a Fortune 500 company. Phil still serves as a consultant to Japanese businesses in certain product technologies.”
Having operated a small family-owned cattle ranch where they raised their children, the Barkers carry a message in their hearts that they learned from an old rancher: “‘You don’t always have to be comfortable.’ We’ve adopted this as a family reminder when the going gets tough.”
“We’re surrounded by a fantastic group of people who have created an exciting, diverse shop and an amazing sense of community. We started with about 10 vendors and we now have close to 60. This group is incredibly supportive of each other,” Barker says.
This spirit of cooperation makes The Oregon Street Antique Mall and O Street Gallery a beacon of light and creativity for the North State. The Barkers are honored by the amazing reception from the community. Barker says, “We appreciate each customer and consider them friends.”
Oregon Street Antique Mall & O Street Gallery:
1261 Oregon Street, Redding
(530) 242-1524 • www.oregonstreetantiquemall.com
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