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Mural project focuses on neighborhood history (you can participate this weekend)

Gianna Sanchez, a student at Escuela del Sol, reveals a portrait of long-time Wells Park resident Claudette Romero. Photo via Julianna Kirwin.

October 14, 2021

A group of students from ACE Leadership High School and Escuela del Sol have lately been hard at work on a new art project that dives into the history of the Wells Park neighborhood, and members of the public will get a chance to join in the effort this weekend.

The work has been happening since early September, with a group of 24 students producing “relief prints” in which a thin piece of foam is cut up in a way that effectively turns it into a stamp when paint is applied to it.

Students have created all sorts of images that evoke the history of the area and its people, including portraits of Emma Albrighta famous railroad-era portrait photographer who owned property in the neighborhood, and Reies Tijerinathe Chicano activist who had an office in the area. A group from ArtStreet, a project of Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, has also contributed prints.

Members of the public are also invited to try their hand at making a print this Saturday at the Johnny Tapia Community Center (registration information is here).

The effort is organized by Wells Park artist Julianna Kirwin, who is also behind the historic banners installed along Mountain Road (DAN, 4/16/20), where she has a gallery.

Once all the prints are assembled, the plan is to paste them onto large thin boards and display them at the Walker Property, the vacant square block just north of the Johnny Tapia Community Center that the city aims to turn into a park. After that, Kirwin said, they will be relocated to inside the community center.

“It’s been really fun for them,” Kirwin said of the students. “This has been a really nice opportunity to learn their neighborhood history.”