Photo by William Guerrero

Each time I walk east on 18th Street from Ashland Avenue, I always check the black gate in front of Mestiza. An open gate means an open store. I like to pop in even if I don’t have the intention of buying something that day. 

The second you enter the store, the music is energizing, the colors on the wall pop, and the scent of palo santo evens everything out into a calming experience. There’s always something new to glance at: mugs, jewelry, candles, t-shirts, headbands, concha-shaped pillows, to name a few. 

The store owners, Lorena Almanza and Sugeiri Martinez, set out with the intention of creating a space that felt like their own home. The original store opened in 2004 had a mix of vintage and Mexican items and art for sale, but after closing in 2009 due to family health concerns, Mestiza returned in 2017 with the more focused intention of highlighting the beauty of Mexican, Chicanx, and Latinx cultures. The artists showcased at Mestiza are thoughtfully chosen, as relationship building is a priority for them.

The store owners create connections with other artists while vending at markets and connecting through social media. At Mestiza, you can find the work of local artists like AngMir, WerkMija, and Dachi por Adriana Rivera. You can also find items from Texas, California, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. Martinez’s artist pick is Edith Orozco from Guanajato who creates hand-painted paper mache jewelry with sacred heart imagery.

Whether you’re shopping for a gift for someone or looking to add to your own home, Mestiza is the place to find colorful, calming, and creative pieces for a loving home atmosphere.

Mestiza, 1523 W. 18th St. Tuesday–Friday 1–6pm; Saturday–Sunday, 12–5pm; closed Monday. (872) 395-1814. Follow Mestiza at @mestizashop

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