Phoenix artists Kathy Cano-Murillo and Emily Costello are opening a gallery and studio space called Mucho Mas Art Studio in September.
The new arts venue is located at 1736 East McDowell Road, behind a boutique called Galeana 39. It’s part of the McDowell Market building that also houses Palabras Bookstore. Mucho Mas patrons can enter through Galeana 39 or an entrance at the back off the building.
Cani-Murillo and Costello decided to start Mucho Mas for a couple reasons.
“We thought it would be great to have to space with two full-time Latina artists and entrepreneurs,” Cano-Murillo says.
There were practical considerations, too.
Costello just completed an artist residency with Xico Arte y Cultura, a Phoenix gallery and studio space specializing in works by Chicano and indigenous artists. So, she was looking for another workspace.
Costello and Cano-Murillo are well-established artists who work in various media. Both are part of the Phoenix Fridas, a collective of Latina artists inspired by 20th-century Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Costello, whose designs are currently featured on some Arizona lottery tickets, creates mostly paintings, prints, and mixed-media artwork.
Cano-Murillo has a thriving Latina lifestyle business called The Crafty Chica, which includes robust online offerings such as crafting tips and home décor ideas. She's also published several craft and lifestyle books.
They’ll use their own brands to market the new venture, but are working as well to create a Mucho Mas website where they can post how-to videos, sell their work, and inspire others to embrace arts and culture.
The physical space is just over 400 square feet. It will include changing exhibitions — primarily of their own work — and studio space. It'll have what Cano-Murillo calls a “Mexi-bohemian” vibe.
“Community members can come and watch us work, and we’ll have craft kits that people can buy, then make right here,” Cano-Murillo says. The artists will also offer art workshops.
They're hoping to leverage the space to help bring greater visibility to local makers and personalities, in part by doing interviews with various creatives and posting them on YouTube.
The artists will start moving in this week, and plan to hold a grand opening during First Friday on September 1. They’re still working to decide on regular business hours. “We plan to give it a year and see how it goes,” Cano-Murillo says of the new venue.
But they’re expecting good things.
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“This is becoming a happening place,” Cano-Murillo says of the McDowell corridor that’s home to several other small businesses. “It still feels really good and local like the Phoenix I grew up in,” Costello says.
Costello grew up in south Phoenix, where she’s still living today. Twenty-seven years ago, Cano-Murillo lived just a few blocks from the Mucho Mas space, and wished she had money to shop in the area.
“Back then, I never dreamed I’d be starting my own business here,” Cano-Murillo says. Now, she’s eager to use the Mucho Mas and Crafty Chica platforms to bring greater visibility to the area and its many creatives.
“The timing is perfect, given today’s political climate,” Cano-Murillo says. “Now more than ever, we have to band together and encourage each other.”