By Jim Graves, Special to the Independent
Valinda Martin is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the opening of her business Laguna Beach’s Art for the Soul, 272 Forest Ave. The shop sells the works of over 800 artists, including blown glass, prints, jewelry and color-drenched furniture. “Many of our visitors stop by for the sole purpose of reviving their spirits with a healthy dose of inspiration,” said Martin.
An even more poignant anniversary for Martin occurred 20 years ago, on Labor Day, Sept. 6, 1993, when she broke her back in a boating accident. It left her unable to walk. Today, she uses a wheelchair. She envisioned Art for the Soul during her own recovery.
Martin and her sister began buying art items, which would raise her spirits. She sought out items that were fun to look at and made her laugh: a pocket angel, a framed piece of art, a decorative mirror, a flying fairy … something with meaning and humor to her.
Martin launched her business with a shop on Balboa Island 15 years ago, and opened a second shop in Laguna Beach in 2003. The Laguna shop has a heavy volume of visitors, including many tourists. She offers them the sorts of inspirational and humorous art objects she bought decades ago with her sister.
Art for the Soul is a business, but Martin also considers it therapy for herself and her customers, helping them maintain a positive outlook on life with a little help from the art items she sells. “When they buy things in my shop, it makes them happy. It gives me the opportunity to share in that happiness,” she said.