Lark paints the way for local artists


Rei Baxter

Maricris Hansen works on a painting in her studio.

Cheese boards, gold jewelry, and paintings are only a few of the unique art pieces that can be found at Lark, a new gift boutique in downtown San Carlos.

Lark opened on Oct. 28, 2022, taking the place of Ten Toes, a children’s shoe store. The new shop is owned by Angela Kalayjian, whose goal is to feature local artists and artisans.

“I love how her store exposes my work to a different group of people that I wouldn’t otherwise reach,” said Maricris Hansen, an artist whose work is featured in Lark.

Kalayjian recalled that when she saw the vacant building up for lease, she knew she wanted to turn it into a store in which customers could find unique and beautiful gifts.

Lark currently features seven artists, and their work is not limited to the paintings on the wall.

“A woman in Belmont makes all the wooden cutting boards and cheese boards, and this woman Laurel Elaine makes the gold jewelry,” Kalayjian said.

Artists who create the products like cutting boards and jewelry benefit from the store because, according to Kalayjian, people love buying their products. The art pieces on the wall are purchased less frequently because of their high prices, but the artists still gain exposure.

It makes me feel especially tied with the community to know that my work is in a space that is supporting a really great store in a place that I love so much”

— Maricris Hansen

“Whether the shopper end up buying the art or they’re just appreciating it, hopefully, they notice the artist and consider the piece for a future purchase,” Kalayjian said.

Kalayjian explained that when she opened Lark, she wanted to feature Hansen’s work in the store because she took a liking to her pieces.

“I was very excited when her shop opened on Laurel Street,” Hansen said. “She had already told me that she wanted to feature products that she had a connection with and connect with the people who made those products.”

Lark has also begun to pique the interest of residents in the area. Resident Mary Monihan and her husband visited the store out of curiosity.

“It’s here, and it’s new, so I came by,” Monihan said.

Having her artwork in Lark makes Hansen feel closer to the community.

“Especially because it’s right in the heart of San Carlos, it makes me feel especially tied with the community to know that my work is in a space that is supporting a really great store in a place that I love so much,” Hansen said.

In addition to the benefits of exposure and closeness to the community, the pay distribution is also beneficial to the artists.

“Most galleries, from what I’ve heard, do 50-50,” Kalayjian said. “I’m doing 65-35, so if I’m selling something for $100, I’ll give the artist $65, and then I’ll keep the $35; it’s a little bit more generous than the galleries.”

As more artists find out about Lark, Kalayjian explained that she must create a selection process. However, she plans to continue receiving art from local artists and switch out the pieces every three to four months.

“I hope that artists continue to want to have their art up in the store,” Kalayjian said.