Gray may not seem like the most appetizing color for a cake, but when the Depressed Cake Shop is selling them, the color choice makes a little more sense.

“The Depressed Cake Shop believes that mental health issues will be more effectively managed when there is an open dialogue and that is what we are working to create,” said founder of the Depressed Cake Shop, Valerie Van Galder.  “Our gray cakes are a visual metaphor for the cloud that can descend during a depressive episode. The energy and community created at our shops have proved transformative for the organizers as well as our customers.”

Santa Monicans will get a chance to experience what the Depressed Cake Shop has to offer when their pop up shop heads to town on May 6 with a gallery opening reception filled with cake, photography, music and wine from 7 – 10 p.m. The shop will remain open through May 7 from 10:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m. at Streetcraft LA (2912 Main St.).

“We are incredibly excited about this pop up because we are partnering with the dynamic young founders of Wear Your Label, a socially conscious clothing company in Canada,” Van Galder said. “They will be with us to launch a new co-branded t-shirt. All proceeds will go to the mental health programs at Venice’s St. Joseph Center. Customers can also expect original photography from Danielle Hark’s Broken Light Collective. She is flying in from New York to be at the pop up.

And, we will of course have a huge variety of beautiful baked goods, all donated by bakers from around Southern California. “

The pop up shop will also be partnering with the Broken Light Collective, a collection of photography by artists affected by mental illness from around the world curated by Danielle Hark. Original artwork will be displayed and sold at the event.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with Depressed Cake Shop and Wear Your Label,” Danielle Hark said in a press release. “Photography helped save my life after a severe depression. It literally got me off the floor and back into the world. It gave me a voice, when I felt I had none. I am honored to be able to help other artists with mental illness to share their voices through this awe-inspiring Depressed Cake Shop exhibit, and to raise money for such an important cause. I hope viewers recognize the bravery and strength behind every image.”

Co-founders of Wear Your Label, Kayley Reed and Kyle MacNevin, said they couldn’t be more proud and excited to be working with the two organizations.

“The Depressed Cake Shop Pop-Up is our first stop in LA and we’re incredibly humbled to be given the opportunity to share our story alongside likeminded companies,” the two said in a press release.

Van Galder said she hopes that Santa Monica locals enjoy this community building event and that it touches them as it has so many others.

The Depressed Cake Shop was launched in the United Kingdom in 2013 by a woman named Emma Thomas, a.k.a. Miss Cakehead.

Van Galder read about it on Facebook and was inspired to open a Los Angeles pop-up in August of that year.

“It was such a huge success that I decided to continue with the effort. We are now a worldwide grassroots collective of bakers and organizers who have raised nearly $100,000 for local charities in each market where a pop up is hosted.”

Van Galder’s personal connection to the effort was inspired by caring for her father through many years of severe depression, and seeing first hand how confusing and lonely it can be when you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health issue.

“It is an ‘invisible’ disease and has many challenges that are much different than other illnesses,” Van Galder said.

Van Galder said that everyone who attends a Depressed Cake Shop comes away from the experience with a better understanding of how love, community and cake can help people feel comfortable sharing their experiences dealing with mental health issues.

“Knowing you are not alone and that there are people who understand some of the things you have been facing is incredible healing,” Van Galder said. “It has been one of the most remarkable experiences of my life.”

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