The Little Art Shop was a long-time landmark of the business district of Frazier Avenue. There, customers could find supplies or take classes for their own artistic endeavors, as well as purchase original art work.
If the scenery in a painting looked familiar, there was good reason. The store’s proprietor, George Edward Little, often used the Chattanooga area as his subject.
George Edward Little was born in Ashland, Kentucky in 1908. He became interested in art as a child, and furthered his ambitions through correspondence courses.
This led to a number of stops along his journey – as a newspaper cartoonist, sign painter for J.C. Penney, lobby card artist for theaters, and owner of an art shop in Miami.
As empty-nesters in 1953, Mr. Little and his wife moved to Chattanooga, a place through which their travels had taken them several times. He worked for Faulkner Sign Company, and then opened the Little Art Shop in 1960 at 201 Frazier Avenue.
A September 4, 1966 Chattanooga News-Free Press article headlined George Little as being the “Painter of Chattanooga.” He was credited with capturing the beauty of the area on canvas, in the same way that Walter Cline had done through postcard photographs.
“From the first,” said Mr. Little, “I was struck not only by the beauty of this area, but by the variety of vistas that kept unfolding as we drove along.”
Mr. Little’s works could be found in homes, government offices, banks, insurors and merchants. Often, the images featured views of the city from surrounding mountains.
He also captured scenes of historical significance which later disappeared, such as the Union Station. His painting of the depot was displayed in the restaurant in the basement of the Tallan Building, and was framed with boards taken from the depot.
Other businesses on Frazier Avenue in the 1960's included:
* Agnew Hardware
* Fehn's Restaurant
* Haman Driving School
* Northside Lunch
* Smalley's Pharmacy
* Turner Electric
The June 12, 1983 Chattanooga News-Free Press reported that George Little and his wife were planning some time off, and that he was selling his art shop to his grandson and other investors. Looking ahead to new pursuits, Mr. Little said, “There’s so much to do around Chattanooga, I could never get it all painted. “ George Little passed away in 1989.
If you have memories of George Little or his Little Art Shop, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you know of public locations where Mr. Little’s paintings of Chattanooga are still displayed, please let me know.
Former art shop today. Click to enlarge.
- Photo2 by Wes Schultz