STEPPING INTO COYOTE MOON a late-summer afternoon feels like a vacation. “I want someone who has been to a market in Oaxaca to walk into our shop and think that they’re in Mexico—but with our own twist,” says Cristina García, who with her husband, Luis, co-owns the folk art store in Taos’s John Dunn Shops.
The 400-square-foot space’s pale blue walls are blanketed in dozens of milagro-adorned wooden crosses and sacred hearts, rows of tiny square drawings of dancing calaveras, carved mermaids, pink-and-blue tin mirrors, and miniature paintings of Frida Kahlo. Shelves overflow with terra-cotta mezcal cups, embroidered lilac and teal pillowcases, and trays of silver and turquoise jewelry made by Indigenous artists. Colorful papel picado (cut paper) banners hang from the ceiling.
“Art has to provoke an emotion,” says Luis. “We try to do that with our store.”
Before moving to Taos to purchase Coyote Moon in 2005, the Garcías lived in California. Luis worked retail and Cristina sold folk art from Chihuahua, Mexico, where she spent her summers visiting family as a child. The couple fell for the northern New Mexico town during a spontaneous vacation. When the opportunity to buy Coyote Moon arose shortly after, it was almost too good to be true. “Owning a folk art store was always a dream of mine,” Cristina says.
After taking over, the Garcías even traveled to Mexico with longtime owners Jim and Doreen Gardner to meet many of the artisans they carried. “They trust us,” Luis says. “It took years of showing up, consistency, and respecting them.”
Nearly every corner of the place is filled by pieces crafted by around 500 makers in Mexico’s Oaxaca, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Puebla, and Guadalajara regions, as well as Peru and Taos Pueblo.
Coyote Moon also stocks a bounty of Día de los Muertos–themed pieces, including skull candles, ceramic sugar skulls, and calavera art. “There are a lot of people who don’t understand the significance behind it,” Cristina says. “It’s not just imagery, it’s part of our roots. We have an altar in our home year-round. The celebration is part of our culture.”
The Taos community informs Coyote Moon’s inventory choices, too. The Garcías strive to both represent and welcome locals. Luis sells sand-cast rings, silver bracelets, and block prints. Original paintings and pottery by Taos-based artists like Alex Chavez, Live Johnson, and John Hutson can also be found there. “We keep our prices very accessible,” Cristina says. “Taos locals come in all the time. It was so important for us to create a place everyone wants to shop.”