ENCINITAS — Seven years ago realtor Cindy Blumkin and landscape designer Paige Perkins put their heads and hearts together by raising money for mutual friends who were battling cancer.
In total, almost $10,000 was generated between two fundraisers held at Blumkin’s house. The experience was so satisfying that Blumkin began to think of ways to continue the work on a regular basis.
“I was in real estate, and not happy, and was always an idea person,” she recalled. “I wanted to do something to support artisans with a new twist: to create a year round artisans’ gallery that wasn’t mainstream, but organic and accessible using recycled materials.”
Inspired by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, Blumkin and Perkins created a gallery, Art N Soul 101, in which 60 percent of profits supported artists and the remainder, minus operating costs, was donated to local charities.
“Because there was no way to both pay our staff and give to charity, Paige and I decided to become volunteers,” Blumkin said, explaining that she is responsible for business operations and Perkins for the organization and installation of art.
“I pick out the art, meet with the artists and change the artists every three or four months to keep the gallery fluid,” Perkins added.
Since Blumkin and Perkins placed an ad on Craigslist in August 2007 to recruit members of the local art community, about 100 artists have had the opportunity to display and sell their work.
Profits from the sale of artwork over the past six years have translated to about $90,000 for artists and charities. These include Storefront Shelter (San Diego Youth Services), Community Resource Center, A.R.T.S. – A Reason to Survive, Guitars in the Classroom, Shakti Rising, Project Talk, Casa de Amparo and Kids for Peace.
On average, each charity rotates for a two-year cycle with the goal of giving smaller, grassroots organizations an opportunity to raise their visibility and have an impact.
From 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 20 Art N Soul on 101 will host a Spring Celebration and Gallery Opening Party with appetizers, beverages, live music by Drums of Fire and some surprise musicians.
Artists and jewelry designers who will be on hand to discuss their work include Will Barton (retro surf art), Russ Coletti (mixed acrylic art), Maria Parenteau (acrylic, bird-themed paintings) and Mary Northridge (mixed media).
Party goers will also be able to meet with representatives of the current cycle of charity partners:
Leap to Success empowers women living in homeless shelters and transitional housing to rebuild their lives with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency and career success.
Conner’s Cause for Children provides critical financial assistance to families struggling to cover the out-of-pocket costs of caring for a child with a life-threatening illness or injury.
The Angel’s Depot provides emergency meal boxes to senior citizens living in poverty in San Diego County.
Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) cares for the homeless animal population of San Diego County and provides education relating to pet overpopulation and responsible companion animal care.
“Most of all, we dedicate Art N Soul 101 to the outrageous and extraordinarily imaginative artists who make the store possible and who took a great leap of faith when we started,” Blumkin said. “Looking back, we had an idea, a passion for the art community and artists — and you take all of those elements to make the magic that has happened in the store.
“There are volunteers, the community and tourists who have supported us. We have a lot of talented people and I hope the gallery will continue to emulate that.”
Art N Soul 101 is located at 633 South Coast Highway in Encinitas. For more information, call (858) 442-8666 or visit artnsoulon101.com. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hours expand during the summer months to include Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The gallery is also open by appointment.