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Albuquerque Museum's CommunArty Brings Youth and Artists Together

New program piloted at seven locations throughout the city.

May 28, 2019

In response to Mayor Tim Keller's initiative to create more opportunities for youth while school is out of session, a team of professional teaching artists working with the Albuquerque Museum designed an art making project called CommunArty. The intention of the project was to create spaces for Albuquerque youth to explore their own art and identity as they build community through art.

Funded by a portion of Mayor Keller's additional $1 million for youth programs, seven sites throughout the city provided space this past spring for CommunArty gatherings. More than 100 teens and seven artists came together to explore identity, community, and strength through thoughtful art making. A private reception celebrating the work and creative process of the youth will take place June 2 at the Albuquerque Museum.

"We believe that art is a powerful tool to develop a strong sense of self and compassion and connection with our community and the larger world," Vashti Moss, project coordinator, explains.

Students were able explore their own stories, collaborate, and have opportunities to mentor other community members. They were able to reflect and converse about their work and the work of their peers and professional artists in order to gain insight and make connections between themselves and the larger world.

Gatherings took place at:

  • Native American Community Academy where participants explored questions of "Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?" as they moved between individual and collaborative art making.
  • Juvenile Detention Center where detained youth were guided through sessions of empowering and self-expressive art making. 
  • South Broadway Cultural Center during spring break arts immersion week where students explored identity through writing, image transferring techniques, printmaking, and collage. 
  • Albuquerque Museum where students from New Day Safe Home spent spring break exploring questions of identity, art, and activism.
  • New Day Safe Home where the teaching artists designed and implemented experiential art making opportunities for the residents.
  • Boys and Girls Club where students in 6-10th grade enrolled in after school programs to participate in weekly art making experiences exploring both individual and collaborative art making.
  • New Day Drop-in Center at Johnny Tapia Community Center where CommunArty teaching artists worked with staff and drop-in participants in open ended art making experiences designed to be as simple or complex as participants had time and interest in.

The teaching artists working with the youth were Haley Greenfeather English; Tanesia R Hale-Jones; Sarah Helene Dewey; Michelle Korte; Shardae Ladioux; Vashti B. Moss; and Sara Pacheco