Construction crews discover hidden mural depicting New Mexico’s history

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Construction crews remodeling a northeast Albuquerque shopping center removed panels and got a surprise.

Carla Ward admits the mural painted by her late husband isn’t what it was in 1974.

“You know it’s like life, things have a season, and it’s season might be over although it would be nice to preserve it,” Carla Ward said. “I noticed certainly all the graffiti that’s gone on it.”

Crews remodeling Laramie Square Shopping Center on San Mateo uncovered the artwork a couple of weeks ago.

“In three days he could paint a 60-foot long mural using spray cans and airbrush and rollers, and just had it all up in his mind,” Ross Ward’s widow Carla Ward said.

Ross Ward, the artist, is known for opening Tinkertown Museum in the East Mountains, which houses everything he ever carved, painted or collected.

Before Tinkertown, he painted murals around Albuquerque. The mural at Laramie Square depicting New Mexico’s history was meant for the Albuquerque International Sunport, but when the city picked another artist, Ward felt snubbed and said he would paint the mural for free at the one-time saloon.

Now people want to preserve it, but Ward’s widow says that won’t be easy.

“It’s done on plaster and cement so it’s a really unique surface so it isn’t on canvas,” she said.

Carla Ward says the mural will eventually be torn down, something she’s okay with since so much of Ross Ward’s other work survives.

“Even he was very philosophical about everything had its season,” she said.

Ross Ward died from Alzheimer’s in 2002. His family runs Tinkertown Museum.

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