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First Friday Event Highlights Engage Program’s Expansion Into Barelas Neighborhood

Funding supports space for the arts and micro-grants for community engagement.

September 6, 2019

This Friday, September 6, 2019 from 6-8 pm as part of First Friday ArtWalk, Homewise will host “Cultura” a photo-exhibit, low riders, ballet folklorico and more in the Orpheum Community Hub at 500 2nd St. SW. The exhibit highlights the City of Albuquerque’s partnership with Homewise to expand the One Albuquerque Engage project into the Barelas community.

Funding allocated for these efforts will support the renovation of two facilities in the Barelas neighborhood and a micro-grant program to support community events and activities. The improved facilities will serve as space for artisans and bolster community engagement work in Barelas. The Ruppe Drugstore Micro-Grant program is intended to serve as a flexible source of funding for artists, organizations, small business owners, non-profits and/or other groups looking to put on events to be held at Ruppe Drugstore that may not generate any or enough revenue to be self-supporting

“One Albuquerque Engage, as it existed downtown, was a highly successful experiment. The project increased public safety, brought in a positive increase of activity on the streets, provided opportunities for new entrepreneurs to test business ideas, and increased revenue for existing businesses in the downtown area. We believe the Barelas neighborhood, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and creative arts community, will have the same level of impact and success, and that is why we are investing in the area.” said CAO, Sarita Nair.

“Downtown was our test subject. We believed by activating underutilized space and allowing new entrepreneurs to access temporary pop-up business licenses without having to go through the rigorous process of applying for a business license, it would lead to increased public safety and spur economic activity in the area. We were right - it was highly successful. Efforts led primarily by our partners in the community, will continue Downtown, but now want to build from that success and the idea and find ways for it to work in other areas of the city.” said Synthia Jaramillo, Economic Development Director. 

This is an extension of the One Albuquerque Engage project, which focuses on activating vacant space and improving public safety. One Albuquerque Engage launched September of 2018 and initially focused on Downtown Albuquerque. The initiative’s goals are to boost the local economy, provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to test their business ideas, and promote public safety by activating vacant and under-utilized spaces with temporary pop-up businesses and interactive art installations. The One Albuquerque Engage project partnered with organizations and businesses already making a positive impact through a variety of arts, performance, dining, and shopping experiences.

Barelas: Barelas was originally a separate village established in 1662 from the original Albuquerque town proper known today as ‘Old Town’. Upon arrival of the railroad, Barelas became a part of Albuquerque in the 1880’s. Its history pre-dates the ‘Old Town’ neighborhood making it the oldest neighborhood in Albuquerque.

Homewise: Homewise helps people achieve their homeownership goals and strengthens neighborhoods bringing all the steps to buy and own a home under one roof. Empowering customers with knowledge and financial skills, providing them with affordable homes and lending products, and supporting them as partners both before and after the home purchase. More information can be found at

Ruppe Drugstore Micro-Grant Program: The Ruppe Drugstore Micro-grant Program supports events and activities at the Ruppe Drugstore that will directly benefit the surrounding community. Those interested can find more information and apply for a grant at