Cameron Smith of Oak Cliff is stepping back a bit from his jazz career to focus on visual art, and that’s proving to be a boon for our neighborhood.

Smith recently turned his studio space at Bishop Arts Co-op into a gallery, Bishop Arts Modern, where he plans to show his own artwork a few times a year. The rest of the time, he will make it available to Oak Cliff artists at low cost and without taking a commission.

Smith has leased the space, at the entry of the co-op on West Davis, for about seven years, and he’s been using it as a studio all this time.

“This is a waste of space for me to be cloistered in here painting,” Smith says. “It has great foot traffic.”

After 25 years managing jazz musicians and booking talent for jazz festivals all over the world, Smith says, he was ready for a break. His wife, Summer, encouraged him to focus more on his own creativity.

Cameron Smith

His first show at Bishop Arts Modern, “Life in Black and White,” opens with a reception from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, April 8. It features his abstract paintings as well as some photos. All of it is priced between $100-$1,000 because, he says, he wants to keep art accessible.

The co-op also houses studios for artists including Willie Baronet, De Corazon, Loran Thrasher, Shoby Modjarrad and Liz Dodd. All of those and a yoga studio, Studio 4, are expected to be open April 8 as well. Jazz percussionist Jamal Mohamad will perform.

Smith’s show will run for several weeks and then he’s opening the gallery to other local artists, who can rent it for $250 a week for whatever they want — visual art, dance and movement, poetry readings, etc. He’s also hiring a gallery operator, allowing the space to be open to the public on weekends.

“We’re going to be open every weekend and really dig in,” he says.