ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The gateway into Albuquerque’s Barelas neighborhood is getting a face-lift. It is part of an effort to revitalize the community with meaningful murals.
“I think the Barelas neighborhood was the original colonel of Albuquerque,” local artist Denise Weaver Ross said. “A lot of our culture got born out of that area, so I think it is good that as we grow and get bigger, it remains to be recognized.”
Weaver Ross is highlighting the unique culture of the Barelas neighborhood. “I have been working with the community, and I hope to make them proud and happy with the results and to reflect back on themselves,” Weaver Ross said.
She is behind the massive mural on the side of the Homewise Orpheum building off 2nd and Coal. It is a development hub with a goal to revitalize the historic downtown, railyard and Barelas neighborhoods.
The mural pays homage to the iconic railyards, film industry, traditional weddings and more. The depictions were taken from real photos provided by the Barelas Neighborhood Association. “The woman who gave me the picture… her father is one of the workers,” Weaver Ross said. “These are real people who worked at the railyards at the time of its height.”
City Councilor Isaac Benton said this is the latest of several murals in the Barelas neighborhood aiming to revitalize the community.
“I think the more we can celebrate our arts in Albuquerque, the better it is for the economy,” Benton said. “At the same time, I think keeping residents in our oldest city center neighborhoods is critical to the success of the city as a whole.”
Weaver Ross said the goal is to push the community forward while honoring its past. “I hope people will investigate who the images and people are and learn more about their neighborhood,” Weaver Ross said.
Weaver Ross said her son, as well as fellow artist Roe LiBretto, assisted with the artwork.
The nearly $30,000 project was funded in part by the City’s Public Art Program and the non-profit Homewise. There is an unveiling ceremony for the mural Monday at 1:30 p.m.