April 10, 2024

Take Another Look:

"The Role of Partnerships and the Community Impact of Mural Projects"

Take Another Look: "The Role of Partnerships and the Community Impact of Mural Projects"

Join us for the final episode of 3 episodes all about murals. joni will be talking with Rose Eason, Executive Director of gallupARTS and Madalena Salazar, Executive Director of Working Classroom in Albuquerque about the role of partnerships and the community impact of mural projects in Albuquerque as well as Gallup, New Mexico.

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Meet the Guests

Rose Eason has served as the Executive Director of gallupARTS since June 2016. She has her B.A. in Art History from Barnard College at Columbia University and her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Under Rose’s direction, gallupARTS has significantly expanded its role within the community and deepened its positive community impact. Rose has developed gallupARTS’ two gallery programs to more fully support artists and engage the community with art; has engineered a multi-faceted suite of youth-oriented art education programs and several new mission-based annual programs including music and art festivals; has secured and executed over $1M in grant projects and has tripled local funding; has facilitated many productive community partnerships; and has raised Gallup’s profile as an arts and cultural center at the local, state and national levels through advocacy work. 

Madalena Salazar serves as the Executive Director of youth-serving, arts and social justice nonprofit, Working Classroom. She is also the founder and principal of the Albuquerque-based creative consulting business 3rd Space Vision LLC.

Previously, she was the Social Responsibility and Inclusion Programs Manager for WESTAF, and the first Latino cultural programs coordinator for the Denver Art Museum. She has been an educator/facilitator, administrator, consultant and advocate centering cultural and racial justice and has worked with the Brooklyn Museum, the Community College of Denver, and the University of New Mexico, the Denver Botanic Gardens, El Museo de las Americas, Su Teatro, Explora, and Solutions Journalism Network.

She is a moderator for the Albuquerque-based Coffee + Creatives group and was a member of Denver's Commission on Cultural Affairs and the Denver Art Museum's Latino Alliance. She was a founding member of Denver's LatinasGive! Philanthropic group; an alumnus of WESTAF's Emerging Leaders of Color; and co-author of a chapter in Multiculturalism and Art Museums Today. She received a bachelor's degree in anthropology and a master's degree in art history from the University of New Mexico.

Learn More About the People, Places, and Projects Discussed in Episode 9

Understanding Murals

In episodes 7, 8, and 9, we asked each of our guests the following three questions. Below is a summary of all of their responses.

What is a mural? How do you define a mural?

The word mural comes from the latin root "muro" and is a two dimensional painting or visual art form on a wall that often has a public presence, impacts the community that interacts with it, and helps to shape the built environment.

Murals can include cave paintings, fresco, and street art. They can be small-scale or large-scale as well as permanent or temporary.

Murals activate a space to create conversation, express ideas, and is a way to engage the public and communities.

Why do you think murals have grown in popularity in New Mexico and across the US?

Murals have long been a part of the New Mexican visual environment in Indigenous as well as Hispanic and Chicanx cultures, backgrounds, identities, and histories.

Across the US, murals and street art are an accessible, visual public art form that allows for an open dialogue, for people to connect, and for communities to give voice to something they feel strongly about. Murals provide agency to communities to shape their environment and their neighborhoods.

Murals can also be a more accessible art form for artists to engage with that empowers artists and communities to make their mark and tell their stories.

How do murals impact communities (from community members of all ages to the artists) and how does this work impact your work?

Murals can help people feel seen, understood, represented, and heard creating a more inclusive dialogue within a community. There is often an inter-generational aspect of mural making where untold stories of histories, lived experiences, neighborhoods, and families can be told at a large-scale.

Approaching mural projects as a conversation where the community is engaged throughout and has the opportunity to design, facilitate, and contemplate the work results in a mural that is relevant and transformative.

Murals can build community within communities and can be a learning process for the artist involved to understand community stewardship and the responsibility of place.

We're interested in hearing from you! If you'd like to share, email or message Albuquerque Public Art to let us know:

  • How do you define a mural?
  • Why do you think murals have grown in popularity?
  • And, how have you been impacted by murals in your community?

Working Classroom

Working Classroom cultivates the artistic, civic, and academic minds of youth through in-depth arts projects with contemporary artists to amplify historically ignored voices, resist systemic injustices, and imagine a more equitable society.

Working Classroom believes the arts both mirror who we are as a nation and help us interpret where we are headed and what we want to become. As long as some communities are invisible or underrepresented, the reflection is distorted and the conversation incomplete. Working Classroom prepares students to contribute to a more nuanced definition of our collective identity.

Nani Chacon with students at Washington Middle School and in the Barelas community, Resilience, 2016, Washington Middle School, Albuquerque, NM. Photo courtesy of Nani Chacon.

Working Classroom's many mural projects are a culmination of:

  • Working with neighborhoods: listening to their needs, priorities, identities, and stories.
  • Working with stakeholders: the logistics of creating a mural including timeline, funding, and design proposals.
  • Listening to young people share their opinions about mural designs and what they want to put into the mural.
  • Working with artists who serve as mentors when collaborating and educating young people about the mural making process.

Michelle Pérez Fuentes and apprentices, Jardín de Historias, 2022, Quirky Used Books, Albuquerque, NM. Photo courtesy of Working Classroom.

Learn more about Working Classroom and receive the latest news about classes, events, and more by following them on Facebook and Instagram and signing up for their newsletter.

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The mission of gallupARTS is to "foster creativity, culture, commerce and quality of life in Gallup and McKinley County through the arts."

gallupARTS is committed to growing Gallup's creative economy and art scene for the benefit of the entire community. Their robust suite of programs includes two art galleries, artist talks, art and music festivals, youth art programs, art classes, and public art projects.

Marina Eskeets, Óódááł | Everyone Moving Forward, 2019-20, alley side of Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments building, Gallup, NM. Photo courtesy of Gallup Mainstreet.

gallupARTS' primary goal is to foreground historically marginalized perspectives and expand the horizons of public art in Gallup through projects like:

In 2016, gallupARTS partnered with the Gallup Business Improvement District to have 27 artists beautify downtown Gallup, one trashcan at a time. Emerging artists, seasoned artists, self-taught artists, professional artists and artists of all backgrounds each put their unique spin on over 75 receptacles.

Learn about more murals in Gallup.

Learn more about gallupARTS and receive the latest news about events, classes, projects and more by following them on Facebook and Instagram and signing up for their newsletter.

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What makes for a successful partnership?

For organizations, artists, and communities who are working in partnership it is important to make sure that values, goals, and missions of the project and outcomes align.

Good communication and listening to others is also necessary for public art partnerships to ensure that the artists' vision and intention is upheld while also making sure the community is engaged and involved in meaningful ways.

What advice do you have for aspiring muralists?

Work with an organization that creates public art projects to better understand the mural making process and how to work with various stakeholders. Be open, receptive, and responsive to community needs.

Episode 10, 11, and 12 Sneak Peek: Art and Technology

Join us for the next three episodes of Take Another Look that focus on how artists integrate technology into their art making process and artwork.

Murals and Technology

Artist Nani Chacon, Hand and Machine research group, and Working Classroom student artists collaborated to create PAHTIA, an interactive, site-specific space for healing through art and technology at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Check out Southwest Contemporary's article to learn more about PAHTIA.

City of Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Division | cabq.gov/publicart

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