Mural aims to inspire pride in the Barelas community

News

People in one Albuquerque neighborhood are hoping to transform an old building in a way that represents the culture of the area. 

It all started with a forgotten vacant building across from the iconic Rail Yards. 

Dozens of people in the Barelas neighborhood are transforming the wall into a large-scale mural. The goal is to beautify the gateway to the soon-to-be revitalized Rail Yards, and to represent the area’s rich history.

“Some of the images on this mural are based on historic photographs of people who lived here, people who built this when the railroad was built in 1880,” said Alicia Romero of the Barelas Neighborhood Association. 

The theme is “Barelas: Past, Present and Future.”

“The Barelas area used to have a background in agriculture. The river is the main focus on why this community is her in the first place,” sayid Al Na’ir, lead artist. 

The neighborhood association says the colorful morale boost is needed to show people passing by that Barelas is a welcoming place. 

“I think Barelas has suffered from an ill reputation for decades,” said Romero. “I think it’s really important for our neighbors to realize this is a really great place to be for the people who live here now.”

The lead artist estimates the mural will be complete in October.

“I wanted to incorporate many things that are happening, the good and the bad, so we can have that dialogue and progress as a community,” said Na’ir.

They say their pride in sticking to their roots is a message best communicated in this bright display.

“This is to remind people of the dignity that we have in our neighborhood and that we’re proud to be where we’re from and where we live,” said Romero. 

The Barelas Neighborhood Association says it hopes to work with the city to turn the abandoned building into a community center. 

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