Last Friday, July 30,


opened its doors to art patrons, archeology buffs and coffee lovers alike in what's to be a half art gallery, half coffee shop.  The gallery specializes in jade and other Mesoamerican jewelry. Mirador's gallerists know where the majority of their jade comes from; therefore they consider the jewelry to be sustainable and moral.---

"As you can see, there is not a single diamond in-store," Manager Daniel Palmer says.  "We want to know exactly where our stones are coming from and that the people extracting them are treated right with fair pay."

The same consciousness carries over to the coffee shop, where the coffee is imported from a small town in southern Mexico called Nayari, in which the farmers work for above fair-trade standards.

Credits: Drew Lenihan
Credits: Drew Lenihan

How the gallery is able to be in touch with the sources of their products is due to the history of the owner,

renowned archeologist Mary Lou J Ridinger

.  Some years ago, while excavating an ancient Mayan site in Guatemala, Ridinger stumbled upon surface quarries of jade and subsequently bought the land.

, forming what she considers a fair and symbiotic relationship with the community.

According to Ridinger, when the government began to sell the mining rights, she fought hard to insure the people were the ones who were benefiting most.

"These are stones and resources that the Spaniards stole from the ancient Maya; it is only right that they are in control of the quarries now," Ridinger tells SFR.

As a well-versed expert in Mayan history and archeology, Ridinger will deliver lectures—on a myriad of topics ranging from Mesoamerican art to traditional Guatemalan culture—weekly at the gallery.

The lectures will be held on the cozy back patio connected to (and with the same owner as) Mirador, called the

Canyon Road Hideout

, a new hidden gem on Santa Fe's art avenue where one can relax and enjoy some guilt-free java.  The Canyon Road Hideout features different styles of art depending on the time of year.

The space is curated by Christopher Merlyn, a local artist who has lived abroad and developed a pop- and street-art aesthetic.  His work is currently showing in the Hideout space. Palmer opines that it would be a great place for young artists to showcase their work and hopes it will draw a younger crowd than is normally found on Canyon Road.

Mirador provides an eclectic mix of old and new art and jewelry, as well as a down-to-earth staff with some great stories to share.

Mirador and the Canyon Road Hideout

616 Canyon Road