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THOUSAND OAKS : Artists Pitch In to Assist Quake Victim

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As she struggles to patch together enough loans and grants to rebuild her quake-damaged home, Thousand Oaks artist Michele Weston Relkin has a new source to draw from: the generosity of her friends.

Donated works by local painters, sculptors and jewelry makers sold well at a recent silent auction fund-raiser for Relkin, bringing in nearly $2,000. More money will come in throughout the month as Relkin’s gallery will donate 20% of the sales price of any item to her building fund.

“We had a good turnout for the auction--it was just a real positive thing,” organizer Phyllis Doyon said. “We’ll say it’s a success because any money for Michele’s building fund is a big help to her.”

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Turned down for a loan from the Small Business Administration, Relkin is still waiting for word from the Individual Family Grant Program and the Thousand Oaks City Council, which will dole out federal funds to earthquake victims next month.

While she waits, Relkin said the $2,000 will help her hire engineers to begin evaluating her house’s condition. “It was really heartwarming to see everyone there, I’ll tell you that,” she said. “I think this will be a turning point.”

Relkin’s Gallery 9, situated in the Hamburger Hamlet Plaza on Agoura Road, is open from 1 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, from noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

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