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Department of Arts & Culture Strengthening and Diversifying Bridge to Leadership With New Initiatives

Youth programs, fellowships provide growth and development within cultural institutions.

June 15, 2021

The City of Albuquerque's Department of Arts & Culture has added several initiatives to create a professional bridge to long term careers in arts and culture for individuals from groups historically under-represented in cultural institutions such as museums. Youth programs and college-level internships are designed to make a critical impact by offering specialized training and professional development to future leaders who are committed to engaging arts and culture audiences.

The Albuquerque Museum will soon seek an curatorial assistant focused on upper level undergraduate or graduate students. In addition, the Albuquerque Museum will fund a curatorial fellowship open to emerging professionals to elevate stories and artistic contributions of contemporary of BIPOC artists and stories in New Mexico. Both of these two-year term positions are designed to diversify future leadership in museums and other cultural spaces.

“Part of our mission at the Office of Equity and Inclusion is to equip and inspire city departments to diversify their workforces,” said Michelle Melendez, Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. “Diversity is a strength and results in better outcomes. That is why Mayor Tim Keller’s administration has made it a priority.”

Other initiatives include:

In its second year, the Mayor's Creative Youth Corps is a professional development, six-week paid summer internship program for local high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates interested in arts-based leadership opportunities. The Mayor's Creative Youth Corps provides Albuquerque’s creative youth a safe and meaningful opportunity to develop their skills, build a professional network, and work with arts and cultural organizations across the city. This year 34 students are participating in both in-person and online activities.

In addition, Arts & Culture funds internships for high school and college students who fill a variety of positions in different disciplines across the department's divisions including the Public Art Program and ABQ BioPark.

With an inaugural class of three local creative artists and artisans, the Keller administration and Arts & Culture launched CityMakers earlier this year. CityMakers brings Albuquerque artists - and their creativity - into the public sector to support and develop projects that positively impact and inspire the community. This cohort of CityMakers is working on collective and individual projects in partnership with a variety of City departments
through December 2021.

In July, the Public Library of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County will open applications for its Book Corps, a new initiative for students age 17 to 22 that combines a part-time job in the Library with ongoing mentorship and professional development to encourage and prepare students for careers in library and information sciences.

The Department of Arts & Culture has spent the last few years examining diversity, equity, inclusion in its past and present commitments and actions. Cultural institutions and municipal governments nationwide are taking a look at known challenges and implementing changes to better reflect community representation in programming, collections, and staffing.