This year, the San Francisco metal arts and jewelry gallery Velvet da Vinci celebrates its 23rd anniversary. Its cofounders, CCA alumnus Mike Holmes (Jewelry / Metal Arts 1984) and his business partner Elizabeth Shypertt, originally met in 1984 in a studio class at the de Young Museum. Both had had some success selling their jewelry work independently, and it seemed like a natural idea to start a gallery to capitalize on that momentum.
"We found this wonderful little storefront in Hayes Valley," Holmes remembers. "The smallest one on the sunny side of Hayes Street!" It was a fortuitous moment: just after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake had damaged the Central Freeway there, but before the freeway had actually been torn down and rents started to rise.
(The name "Velvet da Vinci," in case you are wondering, was inspired by an old Perry Mason television episode.)