Early in designing the Orpheum Community Hub mural, Denise Weaver Ross told me that she wanted the mural to reflect the rich history of Barelas. She collected stories and photos at neighborhood meetings and conducted research in local libraries and museums. The more she learned, the more she shared with me. Then as the painting neared completion, more and more often, passersby would stop to share memories brought up by seeing the images we painted. It was a fascinating experience that made me feel as though I had a personal history in Barelas. As though suddenly these strangers, who were sharing their memories, were mi hermana, tía, or prima. So that as the project progressed, it became a Mister Rogers’ neighborhood in which I looked to wave hello as familiar faces went about their daily business.
There’s a movement called #OneAlbuquerque here in town. It’s championed by our mayor, Tim Keller, who wants to bring the city together by “re-discovering our potential through the celebration of multi-cultural diversity.” It’s the banner under which we hold street parties, concerts, art exhibits, poetry slams, and community meetings. Sharing in the memories of Barelas through the Orpheum mural solidified the impact of that movement for me. Now I invite you to join me under that banner by scrolling through the images below and sharing the memories depicted in the Orpheum Community Hub mural.
You can learn more about the start of this project, and see more pics, by reading my May 27 JOURNAL post HERE.