New series highlights artists behind West Central banners

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –Banners designed by local artists line West Central along Historic Route 66, and a new series is introducing you to the artists and the stories behind their work. Sean Wells is one of those artists, she’s a fifth-generation Hispanic artist living near West Central. She contributed work to the Arte Escondido project last year.

“Last year’s banner was a hot pink jackalope,” said Wells. “Because for me, the jackalope is the spirit of the southwest,” Wells told KRQE News 13.

The banner project started in 2018, as a way to revitalize Historic Route 66. “There was this idea that if maybe we spruced up the area, put up some banners, that it would help with that,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Klarissa Pena.

Now the city is partnering with the West Central Community Development Group to introduce you to the artists who created the banners. They’ve produced a three-part series, giving you the story behind the art. “They’ll really learn about the meaning of the pieces,” Pena told KRQE.

Each banner highlights New Mexico culture. One of them features Mexican-American Civil Rights leader, Cesar Chavez, there’s another with Our Lady of Guadalupe and of course, a banner with lowriders, paying homage to Route 66.

Wells says she’s grateful for the opportunity to showcase her work along Route 66. “It just means so much to my heart to feel supported by our leaders and recognized and remembered as a traditional artist, and a Hispanic artist, and a cultural artist,” said Wells.

The first episode of the series will air Friday, June 4, at 6 p.m. on the city’s TV channel 16. It will also be available to stream on YouTube.

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