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Creative Bravos Awards Names Eight New Recipients

Awards Recognize the Breadth of Creative Work That Exists in the Albuquerque Area.

May 23, 2022 - The City of Albuquerque’s Department of Arts & Culture and First Lady Elizabeth Kistin Keller are excited to announce this year’s recipients of the Creative Bravos Awards. An awards ceremony will take place at the KiMo Theatre on Thursday, June 2. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for a preshow celebration with cocktails for purchase from Safe House Distilling and delicious dinner options from Tikka Spice food truck. The presentation of awards begins at 6:30 p.m.

The Creative Bravos Awards began more than 30 years ago and has since recognized the creative work of more than 280 artists, programs, organizations, businesses, and events that make a significant impact on the lives of area residents, neighborhoods, and communities.

"We celebrate the creative contributions of this year's winners and look forward to sharing their stories with the community in person again," First Lady Kistin Keller said. "Our local creative community makes Albuquerque a colorful and unique place to live, work, and play."

The 2022 Creative Bravos Awards winners are:

Legacy award winner Eva Encinias is the founding director of the National Institute of Flamenco, a non-profit organization established in 1982. Encinias has spent more than 40 years working as a member of the University of New Mexico dance faculty, where the Department of Theatre and Dance developed the only undergraduate and graduate degree program in flamenco dance in the world. Today NIF produces many flamenco projects in our community, ranging from its school, The Conservatory of Flamenco Arts to Festival Flamenco Albuquerque, a world-class flamenco festival that is considered the most important outside of Spain.

Margaret Randall is a poet, essayist, short story writer, photographer, and social activist with more than 200 published books. Randall grew up in Albuquerque, and the landscape and cultures of New Mexico have had an important impact her work. For decades she has participated in individual and group readings in the city, taken part in events at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Chatter, local bookstores, and libraries. She has received many national and international honors including the Medalla al Mérito Literario from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico; AWP's George Garrett Award; The Poet of Two Hemispheres Award in Quito, Ecuador; Cuba's Haydée Santamaría Medal; PEN New Mexico's Dorothy Doyle Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Paulo Freire Award from Chapman University in 2020.

For 30 years, salsa band Son Como Son with its original infectious groove has been inspiring Albuquerque to dance. Likewise, that vibrant salsa dance community has been the fuel that has stoked Son Como Son for those 30 years. When César Bauvallet (founder, bandleader, composer, trombonist, vocalist) migrated directly to Albuquerque from Havana, Cuba in 1991. He soon found there was a vibrant Latin music scene here, and his hope was to build on what was already happening. Besides Bauvallet, the members of Son Como Son are Ricky Carrido; Janet Harman; Kanoa Kaluhiwa; Loren Lujan; Lester Rodriguez; Victor Rodriguez; John Simms; Tomás White; and Mary Wommack. Longstanding past members include Marty Carlucci, Jim Firkins, and Paul Gonzales.

EXHIBIT/208 was founded in 1999 by Albuquerque artists Dwayne Maxwell, Russell Hamilton, and Kim Arthun. The gallery moved to 208 Broadway SE in 2010. After Maxwell left in 2009 and Hamilton’s death in 2014, Arthun has continued running the gallery to this day. EXHIBIT/208 was created to present a professional space for one person and group shows for Albuquerque's local contemporary arts community. They have produced more than 220 one person shows and more than 150 group shows. The organization is financially self-supporting with sales going directly back into the gallery. In 2019 EXHIBIT/208 began a new venture next door at 206 Broadway SE. Thirsty Eye Brewing Co. was created to financially help support EXHIBIT/208 while creating more exhibition space for art and special events, complementing the original mission of the gallery.

PAZ Ehecatl has been dedicated to serving the community through two diverse and sometimes converging paths. The first is fostering cultural awareness particularly that of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. This has been realized through the establishment of Kalpulli Ehecatl. Ehecatl which is composed of a traditional Mexika (Aztec) dance circle and a second component that includes workshops and lectures concerning the Indigenous peoples of Meso America. The second path is his artwork PAZ has created iconic murals and sculptures throughout the Albuquerque metro area. These works of art are realized utilizing paint, ceramic tile, fiberglass, concrete, metal, art glass and other diverse media. Each containing elements of community, and depictions of the interconnectivity of humanity and the natural world.

Noé Barnett is an emerging painter and important figure in the city’s mural community. He uses his work as a bridge between groups and a tool to shed light on a number of topics. Unity is a dominant theme in his projects as he strives to create opportunities where deeper conversations can be achieved. He expands the work with light as both a subject and medium in his studio practice. Striving to include a broad spectrum of views and perspectives, each piece is built on a painted representation of the visible light spectrum. Moving from Ultraviolet to Infrared, Barnett provides space to consider how races, cultures, and ideologies can come together as a community and stay in the light. This light is representative of faith, hope, love, and all things good, but it comes at a great cost. The goal of his work is to illuminate this dynamic relationship and serve as a mediator by focusing on what is shared and to provide space as a catalyst for growth.

Delilah Montoya is an artist who collaborates with the LatinX community in Albuquerque on her art practice. Her projects include Codex Delilah, La Guadalupana, Sagrado Corazon, Women Boxers, Sebastiana, and Nuestra Calidad. These series have been exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally. Her work is grounded in the experiences of the Southwest and brings together a multiplicity of syncretic forms and practices – from those of Aztec, Mexico and Spain to cross-border vernacular traditions – all of which are shaded by contemporary American customs and values. Montoya’s work explores the unusual relationships that result from negotiating different strategies of understanding to representing the rich ways of life and thought found in our community.

Chatter, originally called Church of Beethoven, has an unconventional approach to the concert experience and has quietly revolutionized the artist and audience experiences. Every one of Chatter’s concerts is fresh, affordable, and unlike anything else in the country. Chatter's best known program is the Sunday Chatter series, which presents music and poetry every Sunday morning at 912 3rd St. in a former auto parts warehouse in downtown Albuquerque. Each ticket includes coffee from the espresso bar and the doors open an hour before the show for gathering and conversation. Over 14years and more than 670 concerts, Chatter has built an audience who attends every week. While Chatter performs in unconventional, informal venues, there is dignity, gravitas and focus on serious music and serious poetry on the Chatter stage.

Tickets to the Creative Bravos Awards on June 2 can be purchased for $5 at www.abqtickets.com.