Exciting things happening here in downtown Albuquerque! This week the Downtown Action Team brought in a Resource team to meet with several breakout groups including artists, business owners, planners, architects, educational groups, marketers, media, non profits, etc. to discuss planning of the recently state designated Downtown Arts & Cultural District. I participated in two of these breakout sessions, the gallery owners/educational groups/museums and the artists/artisans groups.
Tomorrow at 11:45 am in the Box theater at 114 Gold Street the resource team will deliver their findings after 3 days of fact finding, touring the area and meeting with locals. I am very interested to hear what they have to say. Some of the points that came out in both meetings I attended were related to downtown issues such as parking, safety and family related things to do. In both groups, the main issue that came up was Albuquerque's identity as an arts destination. What everyone basically agreed on is that we are a diverse city with an immense array of activities, festivals, music events, art galleries, museums, etc etc. Sometimes to the point of too much going on all at once. We have a huge population of artists, musicians, poets, theater and dance. Problem is these groups don't cross lines much, we don't talk to each other enough. How do we change this? I am an artist married to a musician, so we cross lines quite a bit, but what about all the other groups?
Something that came up again and again is the fact that Albuquerque seems to be living in the shadow of Santa Fe. We need our own identity separate of Santa Fe! We need to stop focusing on Santa Fe and knock that chip off our shoulders. One thing that was brought up and agreed upon by most is the fact that Santa Fe is a more international arts city, while Albuquerque is more populated with an arts community that LIVES and WORKS in New Mexico. However, that group is also diverse as we not only have natives to the state but people who have moved here from other parts of the country to participate in our arts scene.
There are so many factors to the arts scene in Albuquerque, so many things breaking us into different groups. How do we bring the Albuquerque arts & culture together? How do we get the word out that we need to work together to make this a GREAT place for the arts? I believe Albuquerque already IS a great place for the arts, but how do we let the rest of the city, state, country and even the world know this?