Grand Opening Village Shops and Galleries!

Start with a dream, add inspiration and a lot of luck, stir in hard work and sweat: lifting, carrying, arranging and rearranging, then combine with laughter and friends coming through big-time … and what do you get? We’ve got a brand new Village Shops and Galleries to show off at our grand opening, Saturday March 16th, from noon to 8 p.m. Please join us for wine and refreshments, music, great art, and lots more!

Village Shops and Galleries

Mixing the best of old and new, we’ve got vintage collectibles and antique furniture alongside brand new unique handmade art by amazingly talented (mostly local) artists and crafters. And we’re so excited to introduce our new gift shop featuring work crafted by independent artisans, including fine silver jewelry by designer Lis Mahnken of ME Designs

ME Designs fine silver jewelry

artful clothing and accessories by Michele Battise; wooden bowls, boxes and pens by David Earls;

David Earls' wooden bowls and pens

David Earls’ wooden bowls and pens

exquisitely designed and stitched quilts by Carolyn Earls;

Carolyn Earls' quilts; Heidi Rand's tote bags

mixed media and textile crafts and jewelry by Grace Taormina and Rachel Taormina; handcrafted soap by sassafras and Bubble Queen Soaps & Scents;

Bubble Queen soaps

and my own photo arts and craftsWe’re also proud to be the only place you can get the full line of collage artist Tamara Holland’s wonderful new line of inspirational greeting cards – and believe me, you will want one of each!

Tamara Holland's cards

Tamara Holland’s cards

The walls are bursting with color, from resident artist Mark Canepa’s metal artwork and paintings to hand-pulled linocut and woodblock prints by Rich Fowler, vivid mixed-media paintings by Rachel Taormina, large-format photographs by John Hanses, and much more!

Rich Fowler's prints

Rich Fowler’s prints

Looking for a classy, convenient meeting space for a private or public event? Searching for studio space? We have many options for rental -by the hour, day or longer. And it’s a dream come true for my co-manager Grace and myself to offer a wide variety of art workshops and classes in our brand new classroom, fully stocked with art supplies and equipment. We’re offering high-quality art and craft instruction at affordable prices in a range of subjects, for adults and children, and for all different skill levels.


The Village Shops is at 10330 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, between Eureka and Stockton streets. There’s plenty of free parking. Starting March 16th, we’ll be open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Are you an artist or crafter interested in learning about opportunities to show and sell your work, or to teach? If so, come on by to meet us and fill out an application.  Questions? Call (510) 525-5661 or email me at  

Sneak Peek Open House!

If you made it to the ArtFirst! Holiday Show and Sale, you know what a wonderful space we were lucky to be able to hold it in. We rented space for the pop-up show from Mark Canepa, resident artist and owner of The Village Shops and Galleries10330 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. 

Mark Canepa's artwork

The show went so well that Mark and my fellow ArtFirst!er Grace Taormina and I decided to take The Village Shops to the next level. We’re busy plotting, planning and painting walls, and we’re very proud to announce that our Grand Opening will be on March 16th.

Grace Taormina

Mixed Media artwork by Grace Taormina

You won’t have to wait that long to see what we’re up to, because we’re holding a sneak peek Open House on Saturday February 9th from noon to 6:00 p.m., and you’re all invited! Come by for a preview of what we’re working on: new art, a new gift shop with a wide range of art and crafts, collectibles, and much more!

We’re also excited for you to check out our brand new classroom, where experienced teachers will offer a wide variety of workshops and classes for children and adults of all skill levels and interests. We’ll take you on a tour of the event and studio spaces that will be available for individuals or groups to rent.

Valentine by Heidi Rand

In honor of Valentine’s Day we’ll also have some great surprise activities, including a “make and take” where you can make a free valentine for your sweetie.

And if you’re an artist or crafter interested in learning about opportunities to show and sell your work, or to teach, come on by to meet us and fill out an application.

Questions? Call (510) 525-5661 or email me at

And Our Host, Artist Mark Canepa

For the last few posts I’ve been introducing you to the awesome artists in our ArtFirst! Holiday Show and Sale. If you missed any, see the links at the end of this post. We’re in our second and final week of the Show, and I have just two more artists for you to meet. First, our host, Mark Canepa. Mark, the resident artist at the Village Shops and Galleries, generously let ArtFirst! show our work alongside his.

Mark is a well-known artist in El Cerrito and throughout California. He specializes in metal art, but excels at any medium he turns his hand to. His work has been shown at many prominent art galleries and he has a large client base that includes many of Hollywood’s  famous musicians, actors and actresses. Mark has also won awards for numerous parade floats in The Tournament of Roses. Click here to see a YouTube video showing some of Mark’s work.

Hard to follow that act, but last up is me! I figure since you read my blog you already know all about me. If not, I’m a nature photographer and mixed-media artist. 

I use my images and designs to create a wide range of arts and crafts, some decorative, some useful.

Peacock design light switch plate

I love to design fabric, which I print on cotton or silk and sew into purses, pillows, vases, bowls, and more.

You can see more of my photos, blended collages and designs  at my website, or click here to see some of my arts and crafts at my Artfire online gallery.

Now that you’ve met all of us, we’d love to meet you! We’re open at Mark’s Village Shops and Galleries, 10330 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, from noon to 6, today through Sunday December 2nd.

This is my original post with all of the information about the Show.  Here’s the one about kayla garelick, and Grace and Rachel Taormina.  In this one I introduced you to Jane and Nadine Robbins-Laurent, George McRae and Laurie SternAnd click here to read about Beka Brayer, Holly Wallace, Victoria Veedell, and Julie Long Gallegos.

Follow ArtFirst! on Facebook. And please check out our website, created by kayla garelick.