The Merchants of Riverside Exhibit of large size photographs by Benoit Malphettes at the Riverside Art Museum , RAM
THE MERCHANTS OF RIVERSIDE
January 2, 2016.
I started writing this column while sitting in Molino’s Coffee in Downtown Riverside . The shop was full of college students – I was probably the oldest person there – sitting with their eyes focused on their laptops and tablets or the many other devices scattered among them, sipping vanilla lattes or coconut green tea and nibbling on chocolate chip cookies.
Being there reminded me why the places that make up our communities are so important. It is where we gather to meet friends…congregate to be connected to other people…and spend money on items and services we need, building a local economy, and allowing our cities to flourish and thrive. That is the reason I enlisted Benoit and Kathy Malphettes in what has turned out to be a year-long project to highlight some of the city’s most recognizable and unique small businesses.
The Merchants of Riverside started as a small photo essay project for the VOICE that combined the artistic portraits they created accompanied with short essays on local business owners.The project is now much wider in scope and includes a collection of large scale fine art prints which will be exhibited at the main gallery of the Riverside Art Museum.
I met the Malphettes five years ago at Jammin’ Bread in Canyon Crest, one of the merchants we’re featuring. They were new to town, having just retired from successful careers in fashion and portrait photography. We would often chat as we waited for our lunch orders and soon realized we had much in common. Jammin’ Bread, over its almost two decades in business, has become one of those places that bring people together. I have made some good friends there over the years, people I look forward to seeing every week.
As a team, we worked on a list of businesses to feature based on geography, diversity, and uniqueness. Some have been in business for over half a century and others are just getting started. All have chosen to make Riverside their home. All contribute to making the city a great place to live.
Wells Fargo Bank and New York Life are the major sponsors of this exhibit.
Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds
Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds PhD, is the founder of Voice Media Ventures and the second-generation publisher of the VOICE and Black Voice News. She was elected to the James Irvine Foundation board in 2018 and lives in Riverside