The creative minds behind Inkwell KC & C. Gray Designs are excited to begin their collaborative journey as ArtBeat Co. Duane Cunningham, owner of Inkwell KC, and Cori Gray of C. Gray Designs, have more than 40 years combined professional experience in design, illustration, screen printing and more. While they run the gamut of quality & unique artistic capabilities, there is much more to this collaboration than simple creative synergy.
ArtBeat Co. is family and at the very heart of this partnership is just that: heart. Duane’s sister, and Cori’s sister-in-law, Kari Alejandre, is in fact a double heart transplant recipient. At the age of 16, Kari became ill with heart disease which led to a heart transplant at age 19. In late 2017, Kari suffered a heart attack at home that nearly took her life, and in March of 2018, she had open heart surgery, one week before the 20th anniversary of her 1st heart transplant. To celebrate Kari’s incredible journey and to raise funds to help with expenses, Duane, Cori and the family came together to make and sell shirts. The shirts were a big success, and the idea for ArtBeat Co. was born. Unfortunately, within weeks after Kari’s surgery, it became clear that she would be listed for a 2nd heart transplant. She remained hospitalized, until a strong, healthy heart became available on May 26, 2018.
Today, Kari is alive and well, and as a tribute to her and many others like her, our first ArtBeat Co. design is that of a healthy, thriving heart, blossoming with hope & anticipation. The phrase “grateful hearts, donated parts” that Kari composed, reminds us of the incredible, life-giving gift of organ donation.
ArtBeat Co. is committed to quality & creativity, and we do it with a whole lot of heArt.
To read more about Kari’s journey and the stories behind our designs, check out our blog!
We look forward to hearing from you.