Ekeko Galleries and Studios revamps its business model

Aubreanna Miller, News Editor

Ekeko Galleries and Studios in Wayne, formerly known as Ekeko Blends and Goods, has shifted its focus from holistic pressed juices and coffee to a space where artist can showcase their work, a museum for Native American artifacts, a stage for musicians and comedians, a storefront for small business and so much more.

Owner Mytzy Rodriguez-Kufner named her business Ekeko, after the deity of abundance and prosperity. Gifting Ekeko dolls to family and friends acts as an important Peruvian tradition. After receiving a doll, a person hides it in their house somewhere and good luck is bestowed upon them.

Other ways that she implements her Peruvian heritage into the space includes artifacts, pictures that she has taken, Peruvian-style artwork and a color scheme that is reminiscent of the mountainous part of Peru.

Rodriguez-Kufner started her juice business back in 2018. Even then, she knew that she would eventually want to grow into a gallery and a space for creatives in the area to cultivate their work and display it to the community.

“The whole main thing is to bring creative people and then get more involved in the community,” Rodriguez-Kufner said. “I wanted to be more community-driven than me-driven.”

One of the ways that the business has worked to strengthen community ties is showcasing an exhibit for Wayne State College art students in Professor Caroline Albracht’s secondary school art class. The exhibit will open after Dec. 15.

According to Albracht, the projects focus on developing habits to implement in the students’ future classrooms. Currently, they are designing pieces that look at the identity of an artist teacher. This includes how society views the occupation as well as how the students identify themselves as they move towards that goal.

Albracht also has her artwork in the gallery. She has known Rodriguez-Kufner for a long time, and wanted to support her dream while also having a space to share her art.

“I think that Mytzy has a lot of great ideas and it is just exciting to see somebody put other creative spaces out there in the community,” Albracht said.

To anyone looking for a place to share their art, Rodriguez-Kufner urges you to stop in Thursdays or Fridays to fill out a form or contact her at [email protected]

Another opportunity given to the community includes a venue for people to sell products through the store. Anyone who has a side business, but does not want to lease their own building should contact Ekeko, said Rodriguez-Kufner.

Also, winter brings the absence of a farmer’s market, so those who sell handmade products through that medium can continue to distribute through Ekeko. Katherine Owen, who has worked at the business since July, sells homemade jellies.

Every month, they put on events to bring people together, such as open mic nights. Owen explained that anyone can participate. The room has a piano, microphone, speaker and a long table for congregating. Attendees can share music, poetry, comedy, storytelling and play various games between sets. The next event will occur in Nov.

Owen encourages people to come and check out Ekeko’s events, all of the other incredible things that it has to offer and use it as a space to create.

“It’s a really calming space,” Owen said. “A great place to create art, sit with other artists and come up with new ideas. It feels very creative to me.”