Our Story

Thirty years ago,my love of art, fascination with the traditional cultures of remote places, obsession with traveling and uncontrollable predisposition to collect things all came together in this wonderful place called the FolkArt Gallery. Since then, I’ve had many incredible experiences, met many interesting people and been to many magical places that I’ve dreamed about since I was a child. The result is a gallery of traditional, tribal and ethnic folk art from around the world located in gorgeous Northern California.

We began in 1994 in a tiny space in a small shopping center in Central Marin County that soon proved too small to accomplish our goals. In 2000 we moved to downtown San Rafael  to be a part of a main street community and have more space to be able to hold events and gatherings & host artisans from around the world as well as expand our gallery space. In 2023, the FolkArt Gallery evolved once again! We decided to close our brick & mortar gallery to concentrate on our online store to be able to broaden our reach beyond the local community.

I’m passionate about bringing not only the art but also the inspiring stories of these talented artisans back home to share with you. Over the years we have been able to  host many of the artists that we presented in the gallery and have demonstrations and programs benefiting the artisans and the community. We have engaged artists and merchants from Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, India, Indonesia & West Africa and presented programs about many more. For me, the most satisfying thing is to be able to introduce these amazing artisans, their craft and their cultures to people here.

Many of the artists, vendors, customers and staff have become great friends along the way. We also support local artists and traders.

Each item in our ever-changing inventory tells a story and shows the makers hand. When buying from an artist/maker, you a buying more than just an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation. You are buying days, weeks, months of frustration and moments of pure joy and generations of cultural tradition. You aren't just buying a thing, you are buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone's life. Most importantly, you are buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about and often helping preserve an art form that otherwise might disappear without our support.

Over these past 30 years I've become a collector of beautiful things and great stories that bring a sense of joy to my eye and heart. There are messages in these marvelous objects that spin tales about the ritual lives, cultural identity, spirituality, social status and hope and dreams of their creators!

Thank you for being a part of this marvelous journey,

               Sharon Christovich              Sharon, The Shopkeeper