Cusco Jack’s offers local, global art

If there’s one thing Cusco Jack’s isn’t lacking, it’s color. Upon entering the unique gift shop, one is surrounded by vibrant hues of every shade imaginable and is greeted by the strong, but relaxing aroma of incense and the soft babbling of water from a small pond near the entrance.

Cusco Jack’s, located in the Edgebrook Center at 1663 N. Alpine Rd., advertises as having a gallery, gifts and gatherings. The store offers a number of interesting items representing almost every aspect of art. Some of these include paintings, jewelry, pottery, stones, sculptures and tapestries. A variety of candles, books, teas and incense are featured as well.

Owner Pat Cocoma said: “It just evolved. It really wasn’t anything I thought about doing.”

Nevertheless, Cocoma was influenced by some of her artistic friends and opened Cusco Jack’s on April 2, 2003.

Cocoma knew of a man named Cusco Jack and decided to use his name for the store. She explained that Cusco is a city in Peru and means “center” or “navel.”

Much of the artwork is produced by area residents and Cocoma currently works with 43 local artists. Although pieces from stateline residents are prominently displayed, the shop also showcases items from around the world.

“I want to get things that we don’t have in Rockford,” Cocoma said. These products come from places such as Africa, Australia and Tibet.

Since Cusco Jack’s is less than a year old, Cocoma estimates 85 percent of the people who enter the store are first-time customers. Guests often tell her they are happy to see this kind of establishment in Rockford.

Cocoma expressed that one of her goals is to “educate people on natural healing methods that other cultures use.” Such devices include the popular didgeridoos and singing bowls, which produce healing vibrations.

“The other thing I want the store to be is a networking place,” Cocoma said. This is evidenced by the array of business cards and event listings found in the store’s doorway. “If somebody has something going on, I want people to know about it,” she said.

Likewise, Cusco Jack’s also hosts many events. Upcoming gatherings include a Quantum Touch workshop Jan. 24-25, intuitive readings by a psychometrist Jan. 30, and a drum-making session Feb. 7.

Cusco Jack’s is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Information: 226-0001.

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