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Creative Bravos Awards

Awards to honor Albuquerque's creative economy.

2019 Creative Bravos Award New Banner

About the Awards

The City of Albuquerque's Creative Bravos Awards are dedicated to recognizing and honoring work that makes a significant impact on the lives of residents, neighborhoods, and/or communities. The awards are given annually to individuals, youths, teams, events, programs, organizations and businesses that celebrate the breadth of creative work that exists in the city. 

Each year an award ceremony is hosted by the Department of Arts & Culture. Awards are given to established and emerging creatives of any age. Nominations should be submitted on behalf of anyone you feel benefits Albuquerque's creative economy. Self-nominations will not be accepted. 

History of the Creative Bravos Awards

Beginning in 1985, the Albuquerque Arts Alliance, a devoted organization fostering Albuquerque's vibrant creative community through diverse avenues, initiated the annual Bravo Awards. These awards aimed to recognize and spotlight the substantial contributions made by numerous channels of artistic expression, education, and community enrichment. Categories such as "Outstanding Arts Organization," "Distinguished Volunteer of the Year," and "Significant Contribution to Arts in Education," among others, became the centerpieces of this celebration. The Albuquerque Arts Alliance, composed of like-minded peers, celebrated businesses, individuals, and organizations for their meaningful impact on the local arts scene, culminating in a communal strengthening.

This collective effort to publicly acknowledge artistic endeavors bolstered the community's cohesion until 2008. Over this period, the Arts Alliance's Bravo Awards remained faithful to their mission, with minor adjustments in award categories and overseeing members.

In 2009, the Albuquerque Arts Alliance underwent a transformation, adopting the moniker Creative Albuquerque, and consequently rebranded the awards as the Creative Bravos Awards. This shift broadened the focus of recognized artistic contributions. While the dedication to enhancing Albuquerque's artistic community remained paramount, Creative Albuquerque sought to emphasize the economic innovation and influence brought forth by the awardees in the realm of arts. This revamped approach extended recognition not only to individual artists and organizations but also included for-profit ventures and collectives that contributed to the city's creative economy. The selection process also evolved, with awardees now being chosen from formal nominations submitted by the arts community, departing from the previous practice of internal selection by the Arts Alliance board. This evolution continued until 2013, during which Creative Albuquerque sponsored the Creative Bravos Awards.

The Creative Bravos Awards rekindled in 2018 under the administration of the City of Albuquerque's Department of Arts & Culture. Recipients are now selected from nominations put forth by the public and are celebrated annually. These contemporary awards strive to recognize and celebrate artistic achievements across a spectrum of categories, encompassing individuals, young talents, teams, events, programs, organizations, and businesses, all of which contribute to the city's vibrant creative tapestry.

2024 Creative Bravos Awards Recipients:

Raven Chacon (Legacy Bravos Award) is a composer, performer, and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, Chacon has exhibited, performed, or had works performed at numerous venues including LACMA; The Renaissance Society; San Francisco Electronic Music Festival; REDCAT; Vancouver Art Gallery; SITE Santa Fe; Chaco Canyon; and The Kennedy Center. As a member of Postcommodity from 2009-2018, he co-created artworks presented at the Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, Carnegie International 57, as well as the two-mile long land art installation Repellent Fence. A recording artist over the span of 22 years, Chacon has appeared on more than 80 releases on various national and international labels. In 2022, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Voiceless Mass. His 2020 Manifest Destiny opera Sweet Land, co-composed with Du Yun, received critical acclaim from The LA Times, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, and was named 2021 Opera of the Year by the Music Critics Association of North America. Since 2004, he has mentored over 300 high school Native composers in the writing of new string quartets for the Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project (NACAP). Chacon is the recipient of the United States Artists fellowship in Music, The Creative Capital award in Visual Arts, The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation artist fellowship, the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for Music Composition, the Bemis Center’s Ree Kaneko Award, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2022), the Pew Fellow-in-Residence (2022), and is a 2023 MacArthur Fellow. His solo artworks are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and National Museum of the American Indian, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Getty Research Institute, the University of New Mexico Art Museum, and various private collections.

Sopapilla Productions (Emerging Bravos Award) is an Albuquerque-based production company that focuses on highlighting and uplifting local businesses, artists, and creatives through film and media. It is led by the dynamic husband and wife duo Keith Allen and Felicia Masias who bring impactful collaboration, creative approaches, and truly local and original media content to Albuquerque. Recently, they have taken on the position of executive producers for Comcast Channel 26, Albuquerque’s Local and Original Channel. As a result, hundreds of poets, artists, comedians, musicians, filmmakers, and content creators have been given a platform to showcase their work. In 2021, Sopapilla Productions was awarded the Virtual Visionaries grant by the City of Albuquerque. With this opportunity, Keith and Felicia produced and hosted two seasons of Enchanted Foods of ABQ; a food show that featured 18 of Albuquerque’s best restaurants. They were given the opportunity to create a mini-documentary highlighting 20 artists who were awarded the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund. For all of their work in the local film community, they were presented with the New Mexico Film & Television Hall of Fame Rising Star Award. Sopapilla Productions has been featured on KOB 4, KRQE News 13, and the Albuquerque Journal. To find out more, find them on Instagram @SopapillaProductions.

Naomi Elizabeth Montoya is a seasoned charter school educator with more than 25 years of service. She is also an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and performing artist. At Public Academy for Performing Arts (PAPA), she chairs the dance department, teaches classes, and serves as the school's performing arts coordinator. Montoya is most proud of Contemporary Dance Ensemble, the pre-professional dance company she created to serve as the bridge between high school and dancing professionally. She helps prepare arts students for college, conservatory, or company. She believes in community and is passionate that the arts are for everyone and has witnessed the arts to be truly healing and positively transformative for so many students. Montoya's generosity of spirit, her own artistic practice and talent, her career-long commitment to education and mentoring youth in the arts have made her an important force in Albuquerque's art and dance community for many years.

Katie Stone and The Children's Hour. Katie Stone, described as the "Mr. Rogers of Public Radio,” has been hosting, producing, and directing The Children's Hour radio show for the past 23 years. The Children's Hour, Inc. produces and distributes high-quality children’s radio shows and podcasts, that are created through community involvement and immersion. The award-winning kids’ public radio program can be heard on public radio stations across the United States and Canada, and in Australia, the Philippines, Germany, and Switzerland. Its educational themes focus on STEM, civics, culture, history, art, and performance. The Children’s Hour is produced with a crew of active volunteer kids called the “Kids Crew” as a free after-school program. Programs are also produced in collaboration with New Mexico teachers in Title 1 designated schools. Many episodes of The Children’s Hour come with companion curriculum that meets and cites educational content standards for use in classrooms. The Children’s Hour has also produced a six part educational podcast series to teach Southwest United States history, which is used in classrooms across New Mexico and the US. Each week listeners can tune into The Children’s Hour as a podcast, on KUNM-FM, or on more than 150 stations worldwide. 

Fourteenfifteen Gallery is a non-commercial, collective-run exhibition space located in Barelas. Fourteenfifteen’s objective is to cultivate accessible opportunities for experimental, underrepresented, emerging, and established artists. For five years, Fourteenfifteen has served as an incubator for progressive, challenging, empathetic, and thoughtful contemporary art. Located in a 4th street storefront, Fourteenfifteen Gallery is the continuation of the building’s 20-year legacy as a vital site for experimental art in Albuquerque. Fourteenfifteen comprises two exhibition spaces (Fourteenfifteen and Alpaca) and, in addition to monthly art exhibitions, hosts workshops, film screenings, and community events. Fourteenfifteen Gallery is a D.I.Y. endeavor and a labor of love. It is operated by the L.o.A. Collective, whose current members include Amanda Dannaé Romero, Beth Hansen, Cristine Posner, John Morgan, and Kait O’Brien.

Keif Henley and The Guild Cinema. The Guild, as it is known today, began in February 1966 and gained its “art-house” standing with a local owner and a serious bout of nostalgia in April 1971. It went through many proprietors and evolutions, even going dark for a bit in 1977, but has been shepherded by Henley in various roles of ownership for the past 20 years. With the help of a dedicated staff and eclectic programming, the Guild Cinema has formed a bond with the community over the decades, and Henley recognizes that with great gratitude. He once told the Albuquerque Journal about the phenomenon of “people coming out of the movie and sometimes they won’t say something about the movie, they’ll say things like, ‘Are you guys doing OK? Because I don’t know what I’d do without you guys here.’ And that’s huge.”​

Dr. Sharmin Dharas and Hotel Zazz have made their mark along the famed Route 66 in the heart of Nob Hill. Hotel Zazz is a colorful experience like no other where vibrant hues and sweet tunes meet secret night caps and sweet dreams. Dharas has been described as half human, half free spirit superwoman hellbent on empowering and educating women. She's not only a doctor, but also the co-owner and founder of Hotel Zazz as well as a children’s book author specializing in adventure fantasy that manifests into semi-reality. Hotel Zazz is a mother-daughter owned and designed artist haven. The whimsical hotel design was inspired by brainchild Shayrooz along with Dharas who helped collaborate over 30 artists from all over the world to help execute the dreams of the president and toddler. A New Mexican native with Zanzibari Heritage, Dharas uses her passion, education, and whimsical creative skills for storytelling by empowering various artists from diverse backgrounds to help build an entrepreneurial and marketing track for those who have collaborated with the colorful world of Hotel Zazz.

Edible New Mexico, published by Stephanie and Walt Cameron, celebrates our state’s vibrant food culture, season by season. Through multifaceted and compelling storytelling, the bi-monthly publication, events, and digital platforms connect readers with those who feed them—growers, producers, chefs, beverage and food artisans, and other food professionals. At edible New Mexico, they believe understanding where our food comes from empowers all of us to make informed decisions about what we eat, what we stand for, and how to better support our communities.

Archetype Tattoo, owned by Ben Shaw, has been in business since 2010. Shaw is a 24-year licensed tattoo committed to ethical practices and community service. He co-founded the nonprofit charity art event Art Fusion for a Cause, which features local tattoo artists raising thousands for community causes. Shaw has defined his career through mentoring emerging artists via optimal apprenticeships focused on ethics. A major milestone was spearheading industry-specific state regulations through his role as chairman of the New Mexico Board of Body Art Practitioners. Additionally, he co-founded the Guild of Ethical Tattooists to advocate for safe practices. Shaw uses public speaking from his Toastmasters experience to lead community education on ethical tattooing. He now works with the Alliance of Professional Tattooists as a national industry advocate, guiding artists through evolving regulations while promoting integrity. With over two decades of leadership and creativity fueling charity, mentoring and policy, he builds evolutions in tattooing.

Thank you to all of the Previous Creative Bravos recipients for contributions to Albuquerque's creative community. 

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