A little piece of Sedona, Ariz., has found its way to Las Vegas. Viva Southwest offers a collection of Pueblo- inspired home furnishings and décor.
It opened March 20 at 1230 S. Rainbow Blvd., just south of Charleston Boulevard.
“My vision for the store is, as far as folk art goes, to be kind of a community focal point, offering classes, getting more artists in locally,” owner Don Kyle said.
Starting this month, it plans to offer craft classes. For more information, call 702-558-7004.
Kyle said the craft classes would help promote the culture and traditions of the Southwest and projects would get more complex moving forward.
“Hopefully, we’ll offer it twice a month on Saturdays,” Kyle said. “They’ll range from an hour up to two or three hours. Sometimes we do the sugar skulls, and they take half a day, but they’re really, really fun.”
Outside, Viva Southwest looks like any other store, but step inside and be enveloped by soothing Native American pipe music. Peruse the store and you’ll find a plethora of items –– books, greeting cards, music CDs and Mayan worry dolls (relay your problems to one, place it under your pillow, and by the time you wake up, the worry is gone). Traditional good luck charms, called lucky pigs and which have three legs, are near the children’s items. There are also flutes, coasters, dream catchers and costumed skeleton dolls.
The last item is associated with the Day of the Dead celebration, a way to honor and remember the departed.
“They’re really popular,” store manager Evan Maakestab said. “People collect them all year long.”
Right now, the store primarily imports items from Mexico. But Maakestab said it is always looking to increase the presence of local artists.
Perhaps that’s because Viva Southwest got its start at farmers markets before becoming a brick and mortar store.
Pierre Weinard is one of the local artists who has items at Viva Southwest. He makes rustic wall art and furnishings, repurposing wood from old buildings. Before the store opened, he sold his work only at art festivals, where he met Kyle about four years ago. He said it was nice to have a full-time venue to sell his works.
“He mentioned he was going to open a store and asked if I wanted to put some of my art there,” Weinard said. “I can’t afford to open a store myself, so this creates a lot of interest and traffic. It works out well for both.”
The store also offers Southwest-style furniture, such as headboards, nightstands, chests and television cabinets. The home décor items are arranged on tables and desks, which are for sale themselves.
About 50 percent of Viva Southwest is knotty pine furniture handcrafted in Mexico. Some of it is made out of reclaimed wood from barns, churches and defunct businesses for added appeal. Furniture can also be made to order. Almost everything is handcrafted, the wood unfinished.
Customers will send in photos of how they’ve used items purchased at Viva Southwest. Framed “before” and “after” pictures kept at the checkout counter showed how an unfinished cabinet was transformed into a marble-topped bathroom sink cabinet, stained a dark color.
Kyle said he has learned a lot of lessons from having other stores over the years, and “we’ve learned a lot from the communities, and we kind of look forward to see what we’re going to pull from this area.”
The location of Viva Southwest, the Shoppes on Rainbow, was chosen for a reason.
“We wanted to target the Summerlin market. That’s where the money is,” Maakestab said. “We also have people come in from Utah and Arizona to see this.”
He said most people find the store through social media advertising, such as Facebook, emails, Twitter, craigslist and Constant Contact.
Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit rusticliving.net.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2949.