After the closure of the Mankas Corner co-op called The Little Art Shop (formerly the Clay Station), Rejina Christopher and her husband Mel took over and moved the business to Benicia’s Tannery on First Street last year.
The couple previously lived in New Mexico, but Mel was offered a job from PG&E and they moved to Vallejo. “I’ve always been artistic and now that we are here, I have time to focus on my art,” Regina said. When the opportunity came to take over The Little Art Shop, they jumped at it.
Rejina worked as a volunteer while homeschooling three kids, but maintained her creative endeavors. “I love all mediums and I delve into all of them. I make little creatures from wooden knife blocks, I do a lot of upcycling, I do clay, painting and metal work,” she said. “It’s just a natural progression—I’ve been training for this my entire life. All the steps in life all come together and add to your training.”
The shop is a cross-section of many different types of art, combining gallery with gift store, where everything is handmade by local artists from the East and Northbay. Prices range from $3 magnets to $1,000 sculptures. “There are 26 artists total, doing fused glass, textiles, woodworking, painting, paper art, mixed media, metal art and more,” said Regina, who also shared her appreciation for the support Benicia art and artists receive from the community. “Benicia is fabulous; the support for art events and venues is very strong,” she said, adding that there’s been a lot of support from other vendors in the Tannery.
We’re helping emerging artists, from 26 to 78 years old. We’re proud of that,” said Regina. “Art opens up your mind. It helps to form new pathways and ways of thinking. Art is a blessing.”
The Little Art Shop
129 E First Street, Benicia
Open every day, 11-5