ART & SOCIAL JUSTICE APPRENTICESHIP
This summer, 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.
This summer, the Apprenticeship for Art & Social Justice at Harwood Art Center was made possible by generous support from New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps, City of Albuquerque 1% for Public Art Program and Sandia Foundation, as well as in-kind support from Contreras Construction and Positive Energy Solar.
Art & Social Justice Apprenticeship
Harwood’s Apprenticeship for Art & Social Justice employs and trains high school students under the mentorship of professional artists, designers, architects, engineers and fabricators. Apprenticeship teams create large-scale public sculptures that achieve social impact by: providing lighting and increasing public safety in Mesa Verde Park; cultivating community-driven planning and design in the La Mesa neighborhood; and working with a collaborative network in Albuquerque’s International District.
We’ve built partnerships with the Youth Conservation Corps of New Mexico, City of Albuquerque 1% for Public Art, City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation, International District Healthy Communities Coalition (IDHCC), Hayes Middle School, PACE Iron Works, FUSE Makerspace, Contreras Construction, Positive Energy Solar and Mesa Verde Community Center in support of this program.
Situated in a residential neighborhood, Mesa Verde Park is a daily thruway for Hayes Middle School students who seek safe and comfortable passage through the park. Unfortunately, many students report being asked to transport parcels across the park, stepping on discarded needles and being followed by strangers.
The IDHCC is engaged in needle pick up in the park. Hayes Middle School is working with the city to procure a crossing-guard and footpath lighting at the intersection of Lomas and Tennessee. Our sculptures along Tennessee will increase lighting and community engagement in the park.
Lead Artist: Ryan Henel
Assisting Artist: Helen Atkins
Joursele Kchrezne Bang-as