Heart of the City
What does the condition of the city’s urban core say about the heart and soul of the city? Heart of the City, organized by 516 ARTS, was a collaborative project and exhibition that examined intersections of art, urban planning, cultural and economical development, education and community dialogue through a variety of lenses to focus on the urban center and identity of the city. Downtown Albuquerque is the historical crossroads, transit hub, government seat and identifying skyline for the largest city in the state, but it also exhibits many of the challenges that face Albuquerque and other urban centers across the country.
Heart of the City examined the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the city’s urban core, seeking to articulate and imagine an alternative future for Albuquerque that resonates with optimism and possibility. From street art and murals to urban planning and community activism, this project centered around an exhibition at 516 ARTS that featured a series of projects created by lead artists and student apprentices, public art projects and public programs including forums, workshops and events with artists, planners, architects, students and activists focused on envisioning the future of Downtown Albuquerque.
516 ARTS brought together 12 organizations representing colleges, high schools, artist collectives, educational organizations and small businesses. Many of the projects included an intensive experience for students working with a lead artist who taught a class or completed a residency around their project, which culminated in their installations in the exhibition at 516 ARTS and a few exciting public art projects around Downtown. The exhibition included sculpture, painting, photography, interactive work, installation, video, new media and artworks focusing on social engagement. Participating organizations and projects:
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Program Guide / Exhibition Catalog
Catalog documenting the project with Celia Alvarez Muñoz & Working Classroom
Heart of the City Image Gallery
read: Heart of the City Posits the Urban Core as a Central, Vital Organ, by Lauren Tresp, THE Magazine, April 2014
read: Artists express views on Downtown's future by Damon Scott, Albuquerque Business First, Feb 7, 2014
read: CNM Art Class Creates Mural of Route 66 Golden Era, CNMCC Employee News, Jan 16, 2014
read: The Heart of the City and its Juicy urban core by London Rothko, The Seven Ring Circus, Feb 3, 2014
listen: Heart of the City by Megan Kamerick, KUNM Women's Focus, Jan 25, 2014
watch: Heart of the City, New Mexico in Focus, Feb 10, 2014
watch: Heart of the City Web Extra, New Mexico in Focus, Feb 10, 2014
watch: 516 ARTS stops by to talk local art, The Morning Brew, Dec 10, 2013
watch: Larry and Erin get rather crafty, with Claude Smith and Michael Lorenzo Lopez, The Morning Brew, Jan 31, 2014
watch: 516 ARTS Fosters Discussion in "Growing the Creative Core" by Benito Aragon, New Mexico Mercury, Feb 26, 2014
watch: Coverage of E Pluribus Unum: Albuquerque by Axel Contemporary, ¡COLORES! on NM PBS, Dec 10, 2013
watch: "Heart of the City" gets a Grande Opening by Benito Aragon, New Mexico Mercury, Feb 6, 2014
This project is made possible in part by grants from: Bernalillo County; The City of Albuquerque: City Council & Mayor Richard Berry, Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, Albuquerque Arts Board/1% for Art Program; The FUNd of Albuquerque Community Foundation; McCune Charitable Foundation; New Mexico Arts, a division of the Office of Cultural Affairs; NPN/Visual Artists Network; The University of New Mexico College of Fine Arts.
Image (top): Heart of the City logo designed by Studio Hill Design; Larry Bob Phillips and Signs of Life Collective, Signs of the Times (mural detail courtesy Teresa Buscemi)