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Albuquerque, NM

Since 2011, Artful Life artists have worked closely with residents of Albuquerque's most diverse legislative district to nurture relationships, co-create works of art/performance, and catalyze community-led development initiatives.

Take a look at what we've made together (at right).

"Stories of Rt. 66 Final Performance 2014. Project Director: Valerie Martinez

The Community

There are more than 47 languages spoken in the International District. It is the epicenter of refugee settlement in New Mexico as well as home to native New Mexican families, immigrants and others who are African-American, Asian-American, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Mexican-American and Cuban. The district is dotted with ethnic restaurants and features several cultural festivals each year. 


At the same time the district is also facing a range of critical challenges—high poverty and unemployment rates, a high infant mortality rate, urban blight, and crime at three times the national average.

Phase One: 2011-2013

In 2011, at the invitation of then-State Senator Timothy Keller, Valerie Martínez  and a team began talking to residents and meeting with a wide range of neighborhood organizations. Martinez/Littleglobe then partnered with the City of Albuquerque/Cultural Services and several other organizations to lead the "Stories of Route 66: The International District" arts engagement/creative placemaking project that began in 2014.  The project received an NEA Our Town grant and featured significant community involvement in the co-creation of art.


Phase Two: January-July 2014 

For seven months, each Sunday, a multidisciplinary artist team worked with over 130 community members (ages 5-75, from 7 countries speaking 8 languages).  Starting with smaller works of collaborative art, this community ensemble then co-envisioned and co-created five works of art, film, and performance (see details below) that premiered at the ID Live! festival in July of 2014.  

Phase Three: 2014 - 2017

As a result of the individual and collective capacity generated during arts engagement, the project has resulted in a range of community-led development projects including:

  • Mural at Louisiana & Zuni (March 2017) with the theme "What does Diversity Look Like?"

  • The Refugee Mentoring Project

  • The Migration Experience Film/Discussion Series

  • Avenue ID, an avenue banner art project along Central Ave (Route 66) in the heart of the district

  • Global 505, a coalition of organizations serving Albuquerque's immigrant and refugee communities

  • The first & second annual International District Health Fair which produced gorgeous portraits of residents of the ID

Phase Four: Cultivating the Next Generation of Creative Activists (2018 to present)


Artful Life is currently focused on  supporting neighborhood-based youth artist teams. Teens are  paid for training as well as their community engagement work--envisioning, designing and creating projects with their families and neighbors under the supervision and guidance of experienced Artful Life professional artists.

Phase Four projects have invested another $200,000 into the ID community.

Long-term commitment

Eleven years into our work with the Int'l District, we are committed to long-term creative engagement with residents (and youth) taking the lead.

Since 2012, these projects invested over $500,000 into the ID community.


The project follows the Arts and Community Development model at the core of Artful Life's practice.

The project (and all its programs) have been generously funded by the National Endowment for the Arts/Our Town Program; the McCune Charitable Foundation; the FUNd at the Albuquerque Community Foundation, the City of Albuquerque, the Global Education Fund, New Mexico Arts, Bernalillo County/County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, the New Mexico Humanities Council, PNM with in-kind support from the Bosque School, PB&J Family Services, La Montanita Co-Op and many individual donors.  We are so grateful for all who are making this work possible. 


For more information, contact us.

2014 Community Ensemble


Ahmad, Shazia; Ahmadi, Basibeh; Ahmadi, Farhad; Ahmadi, Farshad; Ahmadi, Mehrshad; Alabatric, Nadia; Alilmi, Fatemeh; Alkozai, Habiba; Alkozai, Hidayatullah; Alkozai, Imranullah; Alkozai, Malalai; Alkozai, Rahila; Alkozai, Riazallah; Alkozai, Sifatullah; Alkozai, Spogmai; Alsiri, Ahmed; Altagracia, Floyd; Amancio, Alexis; Amadia, Osarumwese; Amer, Haneen; Amer, Hussam; Amer, Suha; Amer, Yousuf; Ardomatamedo, Osman; Benavidez, Camilla; Benavidez, Claudia; Callahan, Erin; Cardiel, Aurea; Cardiel, Enrique; Cardiel, Juan; Cardiel, Jesus; Cathey, Karen; Chavez, Nickola; Chavez, Owen; Chavez, Sebastian; Christian, Charlie; Delghan, Maryam; Delghan, Razieh; Donaldson, Roy; Elisea, Norma; Fisher, Beverly; Ganaway, Erin; (Ganaway) Schmid, Zach; Gardner, J; Garduño, Rey; Ghadari, Bibimah; Green, Laura; Grillo, Stephanie; Gurung, Alina; Howe, Mary Beth; Husseini, Nadar; Husseini, Sayd; Husseini, Saree; Jaynes, Julie; Johnson, Gea; Johnson, Irene; Johnson, Savannah; Keller, State Senator Tim; Kerwin, Dorothy; Kerwin, Sam; Khalaf, Suzan; Larragna, Paula; Lhasa, Lea; Luethi, Molly; Marechal, Paula; Martinez, Joe; Masland, Nan; Maxamad, Abdi; Maxmad, Fatama; Maxamad, Gaden; Maxamad, Ismeen; Maxamad, Maryan; Maxamad, Nasir; Maxamad, Osmeen; Maxamad, Sadua; McMahan, Mick; McMurray-Avila, Marsha; Michel, Daniel; Mlakha, Naseer; Mlakha, Rita; Mlakha, Yusif; Mlakha, Marvin; Monfiletto, Max; Monfiletto, Tony; Moshfeghi, Amir; Muham, Nadar; Muham, Said; Muham, Saree; Naidu, Alabha; Nguyen, Hanh; Parra, Acriana; Petropolous, Helen; Poole, David; Poole, Wynona; Richards, Noreen; Rodriguez, Pilar; Sadat, Sadiya; Sadat, Sayed Mubin; Sadat, Sayed Qasim; Sadat, Sayed Samim; Sadat, Sudigha; Said, Muham; Sanchez, Vania; Sinandile, Khanyi; Sinandile, Nkazi; Sinandile, Tali; Sinandile, Thandiwe; Subedi, Phul Maya; Subedi, Prajwal; Subedi, Pramila; Tomlah, Muna; Ta, Nhu; Tomala, Allen; Tomala, Amer; Tomala, Fareed; Tomala, Nadia; Tomala, Stephen; Tomala. Lobna; Touchton, Ashton; Vigil, Brian; Vogel, David; Wong, Sin; Yaqoob, Sanaa; Yahha, Yasra; Zhu, Zhu.



We would also like to thank the following businesses, organizations and individuals gave of their services, time, money and goodwill to enable the "ID Live!" works of art to happen in July of 2014.  We are indebted to their generosity and support:


Mayor Tim Keller;  CABQ/City Councilor Rey Garduño; ABQ Ride/Art-in-Transit; the National Hispanic Cultural Center; Tricklock; Desert Plastics; Home Depot, La Montanita Coop; Rocky Mountain Stone; Reliance Steel; Bounphom Limary and C &  L Industries; International District Healthy Communities Coalition; Jessica Goodkind and Brandon Baca, UNM Refugee Well-Being Program;  Bob Shipley & Reading Works; Seth Roffman & the Green Fire Times; Tim, Shane and Adriana at ARTS Lab; Juanita Bethke & Cardinal Rieger, Van Buren Middle School (Little Free Library Steward); Jenn Luc (LFL Steward), East Central Ministries (LFL Steward); Dorothy Kerwin (LFL Steward); Wilson Middle School (LFL Steward); Working Classroom; New Life Homes/ Sundowner; Darshan Jessop at the Littleglobe Home Office; Ellen Babcock; Claudia Benavidez; Zach Baiamonte; Steve Bold; Kay Bounkeua; Sherri Brueggemann; Susannah Burke; Enrique Cardiel; Land Clark; Jennifer Dann; Frank Davila; Dana Feldman; Beth Fischer; Moises Gonzalez; Cheryl Gooding; Art Goodmon; Laura Marcus Green; Richard Hess; Estacia Huddleston; Norty Kalishman; Wendy Lewis; Trish Lopez; Jerry Lovato; Christian Maes; Nick Mang; Bob Maze; Joseph Millard; Luz Montoya; Brendan Picker; Michaele Pride; Henry Rael; Aida Rascon; Sean Raybun at Meisters Workshop; Paul Resnick; Robert Reznik; Niall Ridgley; Beatriz Rivera; Joe Samora; Shelle & David Sánchez; Petra Sánchez; Ruben Sánchez; Veronia Sánchez; Christina Sandoval; Ken Sandoval; Suzanne Sbarge; Louis Schalk; Nick Shaw; Alf Simon; Christy Snyder; Molly Sturges; MJ Vargas; Efrain Villa; David Vogel; Margy Waller; South San Pedro Neighborhood Association; La Mesa Neighborhood Association; Fairwest Neighborhood Association; Trumbull Village Neighborhood Association; Elder Homestead Neighborhood Association.


Vision Zero Mural - Expo NM
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Youth Teams
Pop-Up Park with Art
"We Grow as We Go" Mural
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Morning Glory
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Photo Portraits
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Global 505
Diversity Mural
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Art Parklet
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Avenue Banners
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Refugee Mentoring Project
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Film Series
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