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Second Cohort of CityMakers Ready to Bring Their Creativity to City Government

Initiative brings local artists to the public sector to impact and inspire communities.

July 14, 2022 - Four local creatives have been selected for the City of Albuquerque Department of Arts & Culture's CityMakers program. Now in its second year, CityMakers brings Albuquerque artists - and their creativity - into the public sector to support and develop projects that positively impact and inspire communities. This new group will work on collective and individual projects in partnership with a variety of City departments over the next 10 months.

This year's CityMakers are Victoriano Cárdenas, Aaron Richardson, Annie Mitchem, and Jacob Garcia.

"Creatives bring unique approaches to problem solving," said Dr. Shelle Sanchez, director of Arts & Culture. "We look forward to seeing the positive social impact our next group of CityMakers will bring to our local civic and cultural institutions.”

Cárdenas is a trans poet of Genízaro and Boriken descent. Born and raised in Taos, his poetry examines the intersections of identity in an atmosphere of colonization, climate crisis, and queer and transphobic oppression. Cárdenas earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico in 2020. His poetry collection, Portraits as Animal, is forthcoming from Bloomsday Literary Press in Spring 2023. Cárdenas currently writes for Meow Wolf and LimeSalt Productions.

Art has been a part of Richardson’s life since before he could write. He is a self taught realist/expressionist painter working in oil paints and charcoals. Since 2000, he has been creating commissioned drawings in charcoal and in 2011 began painting with oils. He's had solo shows in Albuquerque and San Antonio, Tex. He has been a painting animator for a film and had drawings used as props for a television series. Since 2019, he has shown and sold works at ArtsThrive at the Albuquerque Museum and won an Honorable Mention ribbon in the 2015 NM State Fair. Richardson was born in San Antonio and now lives and paints in Albuquerque.

Mitchem is a visual artist with an emphasis on acrylic painting and photography in the realm of Afrofuturism. She was born and raised in Albuquerque, with familial roots tracing back to Blackdom, New Mexico. Mitchem is passionate about amplifying Black voices, and creating spaces for learning, creativity and action. She specializes in color, creating surrealist compositions that includes the people of the African diaspora to showcase the Black experience. She is a recent 2022 graduate from the University of New Mexico receiving a Bachelors in Africana Studies with a minor in Art Studio and a certificate in Race and Social Justice. During her time at UNM, she was the President of the Black Student Union and is a member and past president of the Eta Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She plans to further her education, returning to get a Masters of Fine Arts or to law school to study civil rights law.

Garcia was raised in Edgewood, NM and is based in Albuquerque. Growing up, his father was a playwright and his mother was a photographer making arts an integral part of his childhood. He frequently made trips to Santa Fe where he was exposed to different mediums of art. Garcia finds much inspiration in New Mexico’s rich culture and history. He has explored many mediums of art, focusing on painting, sculptures, conceptional work, and digital art. Garcia believes art can provide insight and understanding to life's many challenges. Garcia hopes to bring new perspectives through the collaboration of art and technology and to foster better empathy and creativity in the community through CityMakers. He currently attends the University of New Mexico where he studies Communications.