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City of Albuquerque's Cultural Services Department Calls on the Community to Discuss the Future of Oñate Statue Recently Removed from the Albuquerque Museum

June 20, 2020

The City of Albuquerque's Cultural Services Department continues to call on community members to participate in a public process that will discuss the future of the Oñate statue as part of the La Jornada installation at the Albuquerque Museum. The statue, a piece of the City's public art collection, is temporarily being held in storage after its recent removal from the museum grounds.

"We need our community to come together with the intention of openness and willingness to engage in productive, peaceful dialogue," said Dr. Shelle Sanchez, director of Cultural Services. "We're entrusting community members from all backgrounds to participate in this critical dialogue as a path to move forward."

Community members interested in participating can email their contact information to [email protected].

The City recently announced the Race, History, and Healing Project and the community engagement team that will support the process to get input from the public. The project is a community-led process to support meaningful and difficult conversations about our shared cultural resources with an open invitation to all community voices and a steadfast commitment to collective solution building.

La Jornada is part of the City of Albuquerque's Public Art collection and sits on the grounds of the Albuquerque Museum, a public institution dedicated to sharing "the stories of our rich heritage and many cultures." The public art collection in Albuquerque is guided by the Albuquerque Arts Board, and their recommendations are not directed by the Mayor or city staff.

"In our city, public art is created and guided by the community through an inclusive and public process, it's actually a good thing that one-off politicians cannot unilaterally decide what happens to our public art," stated Mayor Tim Keller. "It's critical that this process and discussion is led by the diverse voices in our city."

The Albuquerque museum property holds two works of art, created simultaneously to reflect a part of New Mexico history. La Jornada (2004) by Sonny Rivera and Betty Sabo depicts the expedition of Spanish settlers and soldiers. Numbe Whageh by New Mexico artist Nora Naranjo Morse of Santa Clara Pueblo is a contemplative earthwork that honors a place of solace and reflection commissioned as a response to La Jornada in 1998 (the work was completed in 2004).

The City has received inquiries regarding the process for naming of City parks and streets. For community members interested in exploring park renaming possibilities, you can engage with the City's metropolitan parks and recreation advisory board to offer suggestions-more information here. Residents should also reach out to the Office of Neighborhood Coordination with street or park name suggestions or their local neighborhood association and respective city councilor.