APPRENTICESHIP FOR ART & SOCIAL JUSTICE
Harwood Art Center’s Apprenticeship for Art & Social Justice trains young artists in the co-creation of community-driven public art. Youth aged 17-24 are paid a living wage while building a foundation for careers in and around the arts. Our team gathers and responds to community input in a long-term commitment to Mesa Verde Park. Artworks created each summer are a growing monument to the living ecosystem and local residents in this neighborhood of Albuquerque’s International District. We engage in art as social practice, stamping community sourced 6 word poems in tile mosaics. We record and amplify oral histories. Our team integrates local shrubs and herbs that are integral to the local ecosystem within our public artworks. We care for our place, and for our neighbors in it. We collaborate broadly with partners in the City of Albuquerque and with leaders in our public schools, community centers, and public health coalitions. A diverse team of educators and mentors train apprentices in welding, plasma cutting, ceramic tile making, site investigation, solar power and electronics, the art of interviewing, professional practices, self-care, and personal finances.
Camino – Phase ll, 2022
The second phase of Camino provides a welcoming space of refuge for park goers. Around the welcome beacons of phase I, we will create a node with seating and native vegetation. A cement pathway that links all of our sculptures at Mesa Verde, will move through this communal area. Camino Phase II will be a rest point that encourages people to engage with our sculpture and the stories we have captured.
The cement bench will be mosaiced with community engaged handmade tiles. These tiles will be imprinted with memory maps that trace the personal journey of community members.
The seating area will be surrounded by a healing garden that features native plants and herbs with medicinal properties. The vegetation will be supported by an arid LID (low impact design) system , that utilizes runoff standing water from park irrigation.
Camino Phase II presents a regenerative space of collective healing where the community can engage with their environment, and listen to the stories of their neighbors.
Camino – Phase l, 2021
Camino is a two year project that honors the voices of La Mesa community members, and bridges the space between Unidos and Cambio.
The first phase is a cluster of three welcome beacons that narrate the journeys of 7 individuals from diverse backgrounds. In the summer of 2021, apprentices conducted interviews with community members. Quotes from these interviews are cut into the steel facade of the hexagonal sculpture which is illuminated via solar energy. Excerpts of audio from the interviews can be played with the touch of a button, in the largest column.
The welcome beacons of Camino capture the rich stories and oral histories of La Mesa Neighborhood. With this we encourage you to listen to these stories as well as those of your neighbors. It is through unity we inspire, educate and create environments for a better future.
Cambio – 2020-2021
Cambio is a public artwork that celebrates diversity and shelter.
The sculpture features a cement bench that is mosaiced with a combination of hand made ceramic, and commercial glass tile. The handmade tile is stamped with text that captures six word memoirs from La Mesa neighborhood residents. It also honors the lives and memory of victims of police brutality.
In fall of 2021, a steel shade trellis that mimics the shape of a cocoon, will be installed providing shade to the seating area. The trellis will support regionally suitable vines such as wisteria, honeysuckle or Virginia creeper; this will create a semi-transparent trellis that will grow and change shape and volume over time.
Cambio mirrors the natural topography of the landscape while recognizing the connection between the existing space and existing sculpture Unidos.
Unidos – 2018-2019
In the summer of 2019, the Apprenticeship for Art & Social Justice of Harwood Art Center completed UNIDOS, the first public sculpture built in collaboration with community for Mesa Verde Park. This sculpture is Apprenticeship’s inaugural public art project.
The UNIDOS sculpture is an abstracted butterfly form. The structure hovers over park patrons creating a shady, calming space during the day, and offering light at night through solar powered LEDs. The underside of its canopy is adorned with a multitude of handcrafted, colorful butterflies that are attached on kinetic hardware, creating a dynamic moving texture. The top of the sculpture will also serve as a water catchment system, providing water for plants below.
UNIDOS honors the beauty and community that forms through migration, both in the migratory convening of butterflies and within the International District’s diverse community. It provides a comforting space to reflect on the unique culture of the La Mesa neighborhood, while recognizing the personal journeys that occurred in order for this remarkable community to exist. UNIDOS represents convergence and the message that we are not divided, but we are one Albuquerque.
Meet our team!
Lead Artist: Ryan Henel
Assisting Artist: Helen Atkins
Joursele Kchrezne Bang-as