The Story Behind the Storefront: Everlasting Love

It’s easy to miss Everlasting Love, a small boutique tucked away on the corner of 24th and Treat streets. The colorful co-op — which showcases the original work of about a dozen local artists — is shoebox-sized, and not particularly flashy from the outside. But inside, it’s a DIY explosion of handmade crafts; from floating terrariums to long crystal necklaces and glitter-embossed Dia De Los Muertos skeletons. And the story behind the storefront is a testimony to the transformative and healing power of art.

IMG_20140427_135704746The tiny space did not always house an artist co-op. Instead, it used to be the operating shop for a Salvadoran healer, or “bruja,” in the words of Everlasting Love artist Anna Shoriak. But a few years ago, the space opened up on the heels of  tragedy: Jef Leppard, a legendary local punk musician, was killed in a motorcycle accident leaving the 2012 Haight Street Fair. His wife, Nikki, survived, but was critically injured.

“Jeff was a pillar of the punk rock scene in San Francisco and in Oakland. And so to lose him…” Shoriak pauses. “That was just, gutting.”

To cope with the grief, Shoriak and a group of other local artists and musicians linked up and began working on a massive Dia De Los Muertos altar in Leppard’s memory. The whole process took several months, but it was a healing experience. “It helped with our mourning, and it helped Nikki get back on her feet. Because that was the love of her life,” Shoriak says. “Rehabilitation through art is really how this came to be.”

After the project ended, the group realized that they had created something special — a nurturing and healing artist collaboration — and one that allowed Leppard’s memory to live on despite his absence in the physical world. And so, they decided to find a retail space where they could showcase each other’s work and offer therapeutic artist workshops to the community. It would be at once a hub for local artists and a space to explore the healing power of art. The group pitched their cooperative business model to the landlord, he approved, and the Everlasting Love Artist Co-op was born.

IMG_20140427_140018501_HDRThe small shop is also a sponsored project of the nonprofit arts organization Fractured Atlas and is working to begin offering “Healing Through Art” workshops to people recovering from trauma or elderly community members living in rehab centers.

The store features work from artists like Leasa Catera, who makes pins and bottle openers; Erica Warburton, who makes industrial-style jewelry with bolts; sculptures by Shoriak; elemental, “Broken Pebble” jewelry by Danielle Hoang; Mexican folk art by Paulo Cortes, Beatriz Archundia, Sra. Candelaria and more.

So far, Shoriak says, the 24th Street foot traffic has done the shop well and business is stable. “I love working here,” she says. “It’s not a business out to make money, we’re just here to support our local art community.”

To check out Everlasting Love’s art in the flesh, or learn more about the store’s community art workshops, make sure to drop by 3047 24th Street.

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