What to See, Where to Go, Who to Meet, and What to Know
Abundant, lush, vibrant landscapes help to surround and cloister the vibrant artist’s community of Tlaquepaque—a small community for artists fashioned to resemble a traditional and authentic Mexican village in central Arizona. Known as the “Art and Soul” of Sedona, Tlaquepaque was founded in 1970 and has since grown into a beloved destination that houses 45 shops and galleries for tourists and locals to explore! The compound was built to help support the artist’s lifestyle—allowing artisans and makers to create one-of-a-kind works that are stimulated by the inspiring environment that surrounds the community itself. Tlaquepaque is an unforgettable experience that brings together music, art, food, and tradition in harmony. The timeless beauty of the stucco walls, the cobble stoned streets, and the shade from the giant Sycamore trees extending overhead, create a stunning and remarkable experience that keeps visitors coming back for more. The following what to see, where to go, what artists to seek out, and what to know about the history of the world-renowned Tlaquepaque Artist’s Village:
What to See and Where to Go
Tlaquepaque is so eccentric and unique, it’s hard to narrow down what to see because everything is worth seeing—but here are a few great suggestions to help guide you:
Caravana offers pieces that “reflect free spirited fun” made right in Sedona by talented artisans. Opened in 2003 by Melissa Iaquilino, Cravana carries jewelry from Melissa herself, as well as a number of other local Sedona creators. The boutique specializes in unique copper and silverwork. The attention to detail in each piece is magnificent and makes for some of the best one-of-a-kind jewelry in all of Arizona.
One of the original retailers of Tlaquepaque, Environmental Realists is a favorite amongst tourists and locals. With expert jewelers and a knowledgeable staff, this unique shop employs over 120 artisans and craftspeople from the Sedona area and provides values and designs that go above and beyond. From leather goods to jewelry, and buckles to knives, Environmental Realists offers items that appeal to any and all shoppers!
Renee Taylor Jewelry
Showcasing a variety of talented jewelers, Renee Taylor Gallery has become a premier location for engagement rings and find jewelry in the Sedona area. Renee Taylor carries lines that are contemporary but classic—pieces that will last a lifetime and beyond and will always be in style. The gallery ventures outside of focusing solely on jewelry and also offers an array of sculptures and wind-art pieces with intricate metal work and design. With three locations in Sedona, Renee Taylor Jewelry has become a hotspot for Sedona’s jewelry needs!
Andrea Smith Gallery
Artist and Gallery owner Andrea Smith creates and showcases pieces that, as she describes it, looks at the “peace within” in hopes it helps to bring peace to Earth as a whole. Her gallery is soft and inspiring, offering paintings, sculptures, and jewelry that focus on heightening spiritual enlightenment. The Andrea Smith Gallery is one of the most eclectic and unique galleries in Tlaquepaque—showcasing artists from every corner of the world and helping to bring together cultures and ideas in one space to live harmoniously.
Eclectic Image Gallery
Offering a wide range of fine-art photography, Elaine and Duane Morgan are a working team and married couple that toil tirelessly to bring beautiful and unique images to the marketplace in Tlaquepaque. From black and white, to tinted, to full color and high-resolution photographs, the talent exuding from Elaine and Duane is palpable and the quality of the work is undeniable. The duo from Eclectic Image Gallery is recognized on an international level for their mind-boggling perspective work and the over-all “wow” factor their work produces.
Kuivato Glass Gallery
The Kuivato Glass Gallery features over 100 individual artists from all around the world and their exceptional works in sculpting, glassmaking, and jewelry. The studio and gallery planted its roots in the Tlaquepaque Artist’s Village community in 1973 and has flourished ever since. With a name inspired by the Hopi language, Kuivato means “greet the morning sun” and the gallery is one of the very first mainstays of the village. Having recently expanded into a much larger space, Kuivato Glass Gallery can now offer almost double what it could house prior to the move. Visitors to Tlaquepaque would be amiss to miss out on such an exceptional space.
Working hard to ensure it represents a wide variety of artists and sculptors, Rowe Gallery showcases traditional and contemporary artists from the southwest that offer pieces that are unique to Sedona. Featuring sculptures and paintings with magnificent attention to detail and a clear-cut focus on the natural elements of Earth, Rowe Gallery is a must-see for collectors both novice and expert. The gallery originally opened in 2010 but has since expanded and outgrown its original location in Tlaquepaque, growing into a larger and more prominent spot under the iconic bell tower! Don’t miss out on seeing the beautiful works for yourself—you surely won’t regret it!
Tlaquepaque Toy Town
During a visit full of arts and crafts that are mainly geared toward adults, escaping away to Tlaquepaque Toy Town is a refreshing getaway for any kid, young or old. The store specializes in eco-friendly and non-toxic toys that can help to put those parental anxieties at ease, knowing our children are playing with consciously thoughtful and earth-friendly goods. This is a toy store unlike any other, offering a massive variety of toys for every age and created to optimize on fun!
Spanish for “hummingbird,” El Picaflor is a vibrant and vivacious boutique offering colorful ceramic works, elaborate patchwork clothing, and crafts. The world-goods are found in a fair-trade and ethically-sourced manner. Offering an array of South American goods, like alpaca furs, tapestries, and figurines, El Picoflor is a favorite amongst visitors to Tlaquepaque.
A mainstay in Tlaquepaque, Esteban’s has built a dedicated fan-base over the course of the last 35 years. Showcasing intricate pottery work, Esteban’s showcases local Southwestern artists and potters who offer decorative and functional ceramic décor and tableware. Sculptures and vases are featured throughout the gallery as well. Over 50 creators are on display at Esteban’s at any given time—solidifying the gallery’s place as one of the most sought-out shops in all of Tlaquepaque.
Holiday cheer can be enjoyed throughout the year at Feliz Navidad! The holiday-inspired store helps to create a wintery ambiance—even in the middle of the Arizona summer—acting as Santa’s Workshop in the middle of the desert. With ornaments, figurines, tree toppers, and nutcrackers, craftsmanship and artistry from around the world are on constant display at Feliz Navidad. The boutique is well-known for its vast collection of nativity sets from all around the world—representing different holiday traditions in styles from every corner of Earth.
Who to Meet
The artisans, craftspeople, and shop owners around Tlaquepaque take pride in being part of such a unique and vibrant community. The creators are often on-site and ready to intermingle with the locals and tourists. Here is a short run-down of some of Tlaquepaque’s most inspiring creators:
Melissa Iaquilino-Caravana Jewelry
Head designer Melissa Iaquilino’s unique aesthetic comes from a background in silversmithing. Her passion for jewelry making started at a young age and grew into a business she knew she could sustain when she started traveling around to concerts throughout the U.S. to sell her pieces. Iaquilino attended The Penland School of Crafts, focusing on intricate metalwork and eventually breaking into custom jewelry design. Though she showcases her own work in the shop, Iaquilino carries lines from a number of other artisans as well, helping to uplift local makers just as she has been uplifted by the Tlaquepaque community.
Elaine and Duane Morgan-Eclectic Image Gallery
As a husband and wife photography team, Elaine and Duane Morgan have dedicated their lives to mastering the art of distinct perspective photography—creating pieces that immerse the viewer directly into a landscape. They have years of experience and training, and as a partnership, they have established an expertise on quality and craftsmanship.
Ken and Monica Rowe-Rowe Gallery
In 2010, Monica and Ken Rowe opened the doors to their first gallery, with a dream to carry sculptural wildlife pieces that represent the uniqueness of the natural world. Their vision has manifested in an abundant way, as the Rowe Gallery outgrew its first location and had to expand into a larger space in Tlaquepaque un the iconic bell tower.
Nicario Jimenez-El Picoflor
One of the creators who is constantly featured at El Picoflor is Nicario Jimenez, an Andean retablo-maker who creates portable wooden boxes filled with tiny, colorful figurines. His work is on display throughout the year and is always changing, ongoing, and updated. Nicario can be found on site as he works on his displays, and spectators can revel in his hard work and attention to detail.
What to Know
Tlaquepaque is an endearing little arts community filled with unique shops, galleries, and studios—but did you know you can also book spaces throughout the village for special events? The community has become a popular location for weddings since its inception in 1970, bringing an old-world charm to a dream-like day. Here is a quick run-down of what Tlaquepaque can offer lover on their adventure into wedded bliss:
Chapel at Tlaquepaque
The Chapel at Tlaquepaque is for the more traditional couple who is looking for an intimate but spiritual ceremony. Designed to resemble a traditional Mexican chapel, the giant wooden doors, intricate arches, and stained-glass windows create a soft and romantic ambiance that resonates warmth and love. The chapel was built over 30 years ago and has acted as the backdrop to hundreds—maybe even thousands—of love stories for the ages. Working with the chapel’s coordinators allows for couples to create the exact feel and ambiance they want—including adding candles, flowers, flower petals, and even booking the space for sunset—couples can create a tailor-made wedding that exceeds their wildest dreams.
Tlaquepaque’s Calle Independencia is a larger, less intimate event space, meant for larger receptions, and decorated to the nines. The most spacious event space, Calle Independencia offers full staff, a full-service caterer, plenty of room for a full band or DJ set-up, and numerous beverage stations that are happy to create personalized libations. With the atmosphere of a small Mexican village, the cobble streets and stucco walls add a traditional feel that transports guests to another time and place. Romanticism is the name of the game at Calle Independencia—a space that offers the most quixotic of lighting to illuminate the path to wedded bliss for the happy couple.
Patio de la Campanas
For the couple who loves to feel at one with nature, Patio de la Campanas is a magnificent option. An intimate patio with cobblestone flooring, the Patio is a gorgeous setting of greenery and lush gardens, perfectly set just beneath Tlaquepaque’s iconic bell tower. The Patio is a perfect location for an intimate, private ceremony with your closest friends.
Tlaquepaque is not just a treasure to tourists, it’s a treasure to locals. A perfect setting for a weekend adventure, residents of Sedona have been escaping to the small community for decades to reconnect, re-energize, and reinvigorate. Local art is vital to a community—adding color and vibrancy to the mundane. Tlaquepaque Artist’s Village works to emphasize the importance of art, innovation, and inspiration and has been doing so for almost 50 years! May the art they offer, the artists they value, and the events they produce remain a mainstay in Sedona forever…