Passion for Art + Animals = Adamson Gallery


When Colleen Adamson found herself out of a job about five years ago, she stood at the crossroads and pondered her options. What to do? Animals had been a lifelong passion. So had art.

Combining the two in the form of a new career seemed the perfect solution. This past July, Adamson saw her dream realized in the Adamson Gallery, devoted primarily to animal art. “We all have different callings,” she says. “This is mine.” Located at 1021 R St. in the historic Arthouse, the spacious, contemporary gallery showcases everything from paintings to photography and sculpture, from the whimsical to the serious. Shows often double as fundraisers, with proceeds benefiting animal causes.

Animals have been front and center in Adamson’s life from the time she was a child. “We lived over by Ancil Hoffman Park, so there were chickens and rabbits along with cats and dogs,” she says. She’s always had a soft spot for special-needs animals, she says; her current menagerie is full of them. For a time, Adamson served as interim director of the Sacramento SPCA and continues to do rescue work. “I’ve trapped and had fixed 82 cats over the past year,” she says. On Mondays, when the gallery is closed, you usually can find Adamson at the vet’s.

Finding art to display is not difficult. “I knew so many artists who wanted to share their work,” Adamson says. Featured artists include Ron Burns, Paula Wenzl Bellacera, Gary Dinnen, Marti Somers, Matt Flint and Mylette Welch. Prices range widely, Adamson says, with an eye toward keeping things accessible. “People tell me it’s not intimidating here, as some galleries and museums can be,” she says. “They say the art here is uplifting—that it feels good here.”

For Adamson, who spent 18 years in corporate communications for the family business (Capital Beverage) before it was sold, opening an art gallery represents not only a major life shift, but a leap of faith. “It’s a big risk—a huge risk,” Adamson admits.

She is optimistic, yet realistic. “In the end, if it doesn’t work out, it’s still worth it,” she says. “I truly love what I do. If you love what you do, there’s peace of mind.”—