Where to Shop and Galleries
The list that I sent to Freda Moon, The New York Times travel writer who created the feature 36 Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico, included some of my favorite places to see art, shop and explore. Of course, it would have been impossible for Freda to include them all. Nevertheless, I’m sharing with you what I sent to her.
Galeria Fe y Lola, NEW Av. 5 de Mayo #408, authentic, beautiful weavings (rugs, wall hangings, handbags, scarves) made only with natural dyes. A family-owned, small production workshop is located in Teotitlan del Valle. Most rugs available in city gallery. Weaving demonstrations can be scheduled. Most days you can find La Dueña Dolores (Lola) Santiago Arrellanas there. Call ahead to be sure they are open. (951) 524-4078 or 044 (951)130-2481. Not in any guidebook.
Call painter and assemblage artist Humberto Bautista for an appointment to personally visit to his studio on Porfirio Diaz. (951) 516-0100. Not in any guidebook. Humberto and his colleague Mari Seder teach Oaxaca arts workshops.
Talleres Comunitarios de Zegache, NEW hand-carved wood mirrors embellished in gold and silver leaf in traditional European technique. Gallery supports young people in Santa Ana Zegache, Ocotlan. Open M-F, 10a – 8p, Av. 5 de Mayo #412, Plaza Lucero, (in the back of the patio) behind Black Box Gallery. www.proyectozegache.com
Museo Textil de Oaxaca, NEW Hidalgo #917 at the corner of Fiallo, two blocks from the Zocalo, open 7 days. This is the ONLY textile museum in Mexico. Includes a preservation/restoration unit. The best of the best! Rotating exhibits, openings, great gallery shop. English-language tours offered. (951) 501-1104. Opened in 2009.
Los Baules –Remigio Mestas Collections, fabulous textiles from throughout Oaxaca state; in the courtyard of Los Danzantes restaurant on Macedonio Alcala. Enter next to Oro de Monte Alban. Like a museum collection. Remigo is the “go-to” curator for the best of the best. email@example.com
El Nahual Gallery, NEW Av. 5 de Mayo, right next door to Galeria Fe y Lola. Great collection of carved alebrijes, pottery, textiles, sterling silver jewelry personally selected by proprietors Alejandrina Rios and her husband award-winning Saltillo-style weaver Erasto “Tito” Mendoza. (951) 204-2381 or 516-4202 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Oaxaca State Artisans Collective, Av. Garcia Virgil, up the hill almost to the ancient aquaduct, past the restaurant Casa del Tio Guero. If you can make it this far, it’s worth it. Great selection, great quality handcrafts, good prices, but out of the way.
Step down into the little shop Artesanias, owned by Senor Francisco Jesus Hernandez Perez, on Constitucion between 5 de Mayo and Reforma. Ask to see the tissue paper collages. They are whimsical, colorful, special.
Fabricante de Joyerîa Oaxaqueña in the Mercado de Artesanias, corner J.P. Garcia and Zaragoza. Margarita Pérez Antonio and her daughter Luz Esmeralda Bautista Péres sell exquisite back-strap loom-woven and needle-point embroidered huipiles and other textiles, plus a great selection of antique-style silver filagree earrings. Norteño women in the know shop here. Good price to quality ratio. email: email@example.com or cellular 044 (951) 516-6375.
As of this writing, the exchange rate is 13.2 pesos to the dollar. Everything is a fantastic buy. In my humble opinion, there is no need to bargain in this environment that is favorable to the tourist. Bargaining tends to be a more acceptable practice on the street that from a gallery owner or shopkeeper! However, keep in mind, that prices are low to start with and we are doing our part to help support artists and artisans whose work is extraordinary.