Saturday, May 15, 2010

Maya Trading Company — Newest Member of OKC's Arts Community

Poster designed by me. Maya Trading Company has not yet done
any promotional ads which capitalize on the end-of-world predictions
offered by the Mayan calendar (some say). That's just me talking.

The Maya Trading Company is a new art gallery and shop in Oklahoma City, joining the already existing high quality art galleries, shops and artisans located at Urban Art, 1218 N. Western, they being the Istvan Gallery, Art Fusion Studio, and the Blue Sage Glass Blowing Studio.

It happens that the owners of this budding venture (Amber Sharples and Milo Borges) are good friends of mine. If you've regularly read here during and after the state's Centennial, you may have seen that co-owner Amber is Curator of the State Art Collection at the State Capitol ...

. . . and that co-owner Milo and Amber were married in the Blue Room of the State Capitol in January 2009. Until moving to Oklahoma City shortly before the couple's marriage, Milo resided in Mexico City, Mexico's capital city. The couple met while Amber was doing post-graduate studies in Art History at the nearby Autonomous University of the State of Morelos.

The Maya Trading Company is their new venture, it focusing upon the handcrafted art of the Indians of Mexico and Central America ... hence the name, Maya Trading Company.

Maya Trading Company's Grand Opening started yesterday evening, 6:00-10:00 p.m., and continues today (Saturday), 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., and tomorrow (Sunday), 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

ORIGINS & CONCEPTS. What's the new shop all about and what makes it unique and special in the Oklahoma City arts community? Good questions. According to the company's "About" page,
Maya Trading Company is a gallery and retail space that offers a distinctive selection of fine craft made by artisans in Mexico and Central America. * * * [T]he mission of Maya Trading Company is to support indigenous artisans and present original products of superior craftsmanship for your decorating, gift giving, and collecting needs.
Put differently, they wanted to focus upon quality arts and crafts made by the Indians of Mexico and Central America — not the cheap stuff, only high quality. If you're looking for a purple velvet-background piece of art prepared for quick sale to tourists, go elsewhere. That's not what Milo and Amber wanted to present. With Amber's academic and professional background in Native American (meaning North, Central, and South Americas) art and art history, and Milo's familiarity with the resources available in central Mexico, the pair decided to combine their backgrounds and interests and arrived at their goals.

EXECUTING THE DECISION. This part was probably tougher than the first. This is a young couple, and one with not a lot of start-up capital to invest. They would have to select and shop wisely in Mexico given a fairly small beginning budget, and then they would have to find a quality location in which they could strut their stuff.

First, a purchasing expedition occurred, conducted by Milo, a few months ago. You will judge for yourself as you see what is presented here and as you visit the gallery and shop whether the first purchases were done wisely, but my vote is: Milo did very very well.

Second, they had to locate a place to showcase their stuff. As it developed, the already fine Urban Art which opened in 2007 at 1218 N. Western had some space available. The existing occupants, Istvan Gallery, Art Fusion Studio, and the Blue Sage Glass Blowing Studio, have quickly become known in the city as one of the finest places to browse and to shop for quality art.

After they had already accumulated their initial acquisitions of what they intended to to present and market, sort of an audition was required, I think. The existing artists and artisans needed to know that the new venture's quality met their high standards before Milo and Amber were given a green light to "come on down."

The audition was not a problem ... they were given the "OK ... you are in" and were welcomed to join the other quality productions there.

PHOTOGRAPHS. I've taken two sets of photos — 1st, a couple of weeks ago as they were beginning to get things set up and 2nd last evening on the 1st day of the shop's grand opening.

Getting the Shop Set Up. The photos below were taken a couple of weeks ago as Milo & Amber were getting started in setting up their shop. Have a look, and click on any image for a larger view.

Photos During Friday's Grand Opening. These additional photos were taken on May 14, the 1st of the 3-day grand opening. The 2nd day of the grand opening occurs today, Saturday, 11:00 - 5:00 p.m., and the 3rd, tomorrow, Sunday, 11:00 - 5:00 p.m.. Click on any image for a larger view.

Items Available to See/Purchase. So far, Maya Trading has not acted upon my suggestion (not at all tongue in cheek) that it capitalize on the upcoming end of the earth in 2012, according to (some say) the Mayan Calendar. But, I say, "Why not?" The promotional posters which follow are not the offering of the Mayan Trading Company (yet) but are merely my modest suggestions which showcase many, not all, of the the present offerings of the shop (less any items already sold). Click on any image for a larger view.

Individual Pieces
Miniature Masks
Items of Adornment

The Maya Trading Company is local to Oklahoma City ... have a look and support your local arts people! For additional comments and discussion, see this thread at

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1 comment:

Andrew said...

What a great article. Maya Trading is really getting cool stuff all the time.