The nearly 6-foot-tall Day of the Dead Ferris wheel in the window at the Great Southwest gallery in Hillside attracts a lot of attention, as does the 5-foot-tall corn maiden katsina that greets visitors when they walk in the door. Though neither piece is for sale, the artwork hints at some of the treasures inside the space. Chris and Debbie Jones relocated the 10-year-old gallery from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Sedona in August 2013. “We had been coming to Sedona for a number of years when we decided we wanted to live in a smaller town,” says Chris. “We wanted to be in a community with artists and live in an environmentally conscious setting.”
Most of the gallery’s artists transferred from the Colorado location. The Great Southwest represents more than 50 jewelers, painters, potters, ceramicists, sculptors, rug weavers and furniture makers. Many of the artists are Native American or based in the Southwest. Glass-and-wood display cases house a range of jewelry – everything from contemporary pieces by Santa Fe jeweler Richard Lindsay to old pawn jewelry Chris has found at estate sales. The gallery also has a large selection of folk art and woodcarvings such as hand-carved saints by renowned artist Peter Ortega. Dining room tables display dinnerware featuring historic patterns from the Santa Fe Railway and the Fred Harvey Company hotels. Baskets hang on brightly colored walls. You’ll also find pottery by Rick Loewenkamp, Zuni fetish carvings, books on the Southwest, handmade candles, soaps and even coffee from Santa Fe. Walk across wooden floors to the back of the 1,100-square-foot gallery and check out the views of Capitol Butte from the window. (The huge buffalo skull hanging above the window elicits plenty of “wows,” too.) But with so many southwestern galleries and gift shops in Red Rock Country, what makes this one different?
“Authenticity is important to us,” says Chris. “Sometimes when you’re in a shop, you wonder about the origins of the materials or whether a piece is handmade or manufactured. We are very selective in the artists we carry – you never have to wonder here.” – Text by Erika Ayn Finch. Photograph by Deb Weinkauff.
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