Albuquerque’s oldest road hosted a drive-by art exhibit on June 1 with new banners from local community members.
The Mountain Road banners can be seen on the 26 lampposts stretching between Fifth Street and 12th Street.
A drive-by grand opening for the project is scheduled for the weekend of June 5. Julianna Kirwin, a local artist and project leader, said the banners would be up for about one year.
“This new set of banners once again brings the history of our road and our city to life, making it possible for all of our visitors to see,” Kirwin said in a press release announcing the unveiling of the local art.”
Kirwin said all of the woodblock prints used to create the banners were crafted by her neighbors about nine months ago.
“I asked them to bring a photo or something else that tied into their history,” Kirwin said.
Around 15 to 20 people came to create the banners and were taught how to carve the wood to make the woodblock prints. Once the woodblocks were carved, the artists then “rolled them in ink, put them through the press, took photos of the work and then blew them up to create the banners.”
The project was funded by the Albuquerque Public Art Project, Wells Park neighborhood and local businesses in the area.
Kirwin said she believed that the street gallery of sorts could benefit the community.
“We need to pull together our local communities, and it’s important to talk to our neighbors right now,” Kirwin said.
Kirwin also said the banners were a way to represent the ancestors and diversity of the neighborhood and believed the exhibit was a reflection of that.
The event’s origins began in 2018 when Kirwin said she got the idea to start the event from the lampposts that were already present.
“Mountain Road had old fashioned lampposts that had banners at some point, so I saw an opportunity to initiate a community-led project,” Kirwin said.
Although there was a celebration for the event in 2018, organizers decided not to hold an in-person celebration this year, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spencer Butler is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SpencerButler48