Center Stage

Shoppe Serendipity in Yreka…

“I’ve always loved the arts. It’s in my blood. My grandfather was an artist and I have very creative people in my family. I was born and raised in Yreka, but after I left and came back, I realized there weren’t a lot of opportunities for artists here,” explains Kris Taylor, the owner of Shoppe Serendipity and an ardent supporter of Siskiyou’s art community.

The observation at the time sparked an idea. “I thought we needed a place to show off what artists and home-based businesses were doing, so I did a little tester at the old Meat Market one Christmas. I rented the building every weekend in December and filled it with different artists each time. People kept telling me how much they loved it, and that I needed to make a business out of it. So, by March, I had rented a building, and by June the shop was open. At that moment, I kind of stood back and went, ‘Wait, what did I just do?’”

Photos courtesy of Kris Taylor

Fifteen years later, Shoppe Serendipity is center stage of Yreka’s historic Miner Street, offering a wide assortment of thoughtful artisan wares, art classes, music lessons, and paint and sips, among all sorts of other activities. “My goal was for the store to be the hub of all things art. So, if you wanted to purchase art, if you wanted to learn how to create art, if you wanted to play an instrument, if you wanted to attend a concert, if you wanted art supplies, it was all in one stop. I’m now pretty close to attaining that goal. I’m still working on the art supplies. I’m also adding a pottery studio here soon and looking into learning and movement possibilities. Long term, I’d also love to include art therapy for children and veterans,” says Taylor.

Along with Bella Art Works and the Liberty Arts Gallery both down the street, Taylor is excited about where the Yreka arts scene is headed. “Before COVID, we all had a great collaboration, and the arts were booming here. After COVID, I feel like we had to start all over again, especially with events. But everyone is really excited about getting things going again, and it’s just a great vibe on Miner Street.”

Photos courtesy of Kris Taylor

This year Taylor will also once again oversee the relaunch of the Yreka Art Hops, a multi-themed event series with festive exhibits and activities taking place along Miner Street. “We will have four Art Hops this year in July, August, September and October. And I am going to amp it up as much as possible with featured artists as well as local artisans. The first one will be themed Chalk-o-lot — a chocolate and chalk art festival. August will be themed Au Natural, where it’s art encompassing natural elements. Think woodworkers, potters, a fiber fest, even an ‘Art of the Hops’ for beer making. September will mark the return of Your Body, My Canvas, a kind of controversial body painting celebration that includes anything body and mind related and is really fun, with some big names already committed to attending. October will be Lights and Illumination, with shadows and light play. If I can get the money to do it, I want to do an enormous drone light show.”

As if she didn’t have enough on her plate this year, Taylor is also moving forward with her popular youth block party event. “I call it the Kids Block Party. It’s a fun free event for families and kids. The street is lined with about 65 or more different booths where kids can create, with either art, science or movement, and participate in demonstrations of all kinds. I put up a music tent and bring out all my instruments, so they get to play real violins and real drums and all of that. We often have 1,000 people at any one time, and it’s four or five hours long. It’s so fun.”

Photos courtesy of Kris Taylor

Of course, Taylor is the first to admit that trying to manage the shop, shepherd events and remain sane isn’t without its challenges. “You get into the arts out of love because it is often not the smartest financial decision. But, with every struggle, there’s 10 times more reward. When people can come in the shop and you watch their eyes light up because they found the perfect thing or they’ve resonated with a piece of art, that’s pure joy to me. I also get excited for the artist that’s selling that piece.”

Taylor’s love for what she does is palpable. “I think we need to focus on creating outlets for everybody in our community to have a sense of belonging. To me, that’s the sign of a healthy community.” She also hopes the community continues to reciprocate by trying to support local businesses first. “We have almost everything here in our community. It may cost a little bit more because you’re not leaving, but if you leave, it costs everyone a lot more.” •

Shoppe Serendipity
320 W. Miner St., Suite A, Yreka
(530) 598-0075
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About Megan Peterson

Megan Peterson is a freelance storyteller who loves her family, her pets, and Northern California. Her favorite part of writing is finding flow, and she always relishes a touching human story. Aside from Enjoy, she’s typically busy writing and producing for television, having created more than 220 hours of on-air content on networks ranging from National Geographic to Netflix.

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