Skip to main content

Local Artist Honors "Changemakers" With Murals; Recognizes Anti-violence Work in the Community

Public invited to Grow the Future unveiling and celebration at the International District Library on March 18.

March 9, 2023 - It was soon after artist John Acosta was selected in 2021 to be one of the first Albuquerque "CityMakers," a program to bring Albuquerque artists - and their creativity - into the public sector to support projects that inspire the community, that his original plan to raise awareness about youth incarceration evolved into something else. It became a desire to focus more on the "Changemakers" in our community and less on the problem. The vision that came from that pivot becomes a reality when his mural, Grow the Future, is unveiled during a public celebration at the International District Library on Saturday, March 18 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The mural highlights Travis Mckenzie, a local Changemaker, food justice community organizer, and educator who has dedicated a great part of his life to teaching food sovereignty, self-determination, and sustainability in the International District, one of the most food-insecure districts in the state. On March 18, the public is invited to come together and learn about the anti-violence work that Mckenzie has formed through his work with food justice.

"We want to uplift the contributions of those who provide nourishment in our neighborhoods, especially so as we prepare for Farmworker Awareness Week," said Acosta.

The event, in partnership with the City of Albuquerque's Department of Arts & Culture, is free and includes free food, music, and art programing.

Acosta is seeking funding and support to finish the “Changemakers” project as a series. He envisions creating four more large-scale murals that highlight champions of anti-violence in Albuquerque and, as a follow up, plans to hold free community events celebrating the Changemakers, where resources, food, art, and music will be provided to the community.

"It's important for our community to see the amazing anti-violence work our people are doing to make Albuquerque better. In New Mexico, we are constantly consumed and bombarded by the negative and violent headlines that we see in the media landscape. Albuquerque, as a community, in specific, consumes and digests many of these stories," explains Acosta.

He continues, "As we consume this information, these stories affect us negatively and we become depressed and even worse desensitized to those around us. This change maker project hopes to change that and motivate and inspire our youth, and community members to be and work toward what they want to see in their own neighborhood."

Acosta is a first generation Chicano born and raised in Albuquerque. He is a dynamic and multifaceted filmmaker, organizer, and educator. Acosta started working in the community seven years ago at an organization called Encuentro, a nonprofit that works to engage Latino immigrant families in educational and career development opportunities that build skills for economic and social justice. While working for Encuentro Acosta was simultaneously earning his accreditation for his B.A. in Communication & Journalism with a minor in Media Arts. He graduated in 2017 from the University of New Mexico.