Our STory

Harwood Art Center was originally the home of the Harwood Girls School (1925-1976) and is housed in a 36,000-square-foot, 1925 neo-classical Revival style building just north of Downtown Albuquerque.

Harwood Art Center was originally the home of the Harwood Girls School (1925-1976) and is housed in a 36,000-square-foot, 1925 neo-classical Revival style building just north of Downtown Albuquerque.

Harwood Girls School, 1925-1976

The original Harwood Girls School was founded in the 1880s by missionaries of the Methodist Church. In 1925, the Women’s Home Missionary Society built a “new and improved” campus at 7th and Mountain. Here, the Harwood Girls School operated from 1925 through 1976, serving hundreds of young women of all ages and backgrounds. In 1976, the United Women’s Methodist Ministry was forced to cut the school’s budget in half and it was closed. To this day, Harwood Art Center enjoys a friendly relationship with many women who attended school there over the years.

The Uncertain Years, 1976-1984

Though the timeline isn’t entirely clear, from 1976-1984, our campus was home to the Albuquerque Urban Indian Center, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and the Albuquerque Amritsar Academy (or Asbury School).

Escuela del Sol & Harwood Art Center, 1984 – 1991

In 1984, Escuela del Sol – Harwood Art Center’s future parent organization – began renting a portion of the campus for our elementary school students. In 1991, Escuela art teacher Kelly Stone suggested that the abandoned brick building fronting the property could be a vibrant gathering place for artists and the community. Recognizing the importance and potential impact of art and engagement on this neighborhood and our city, Escuela del Sol began an acquisition process of the entire campus. The rest, as they say, is history.

Harwood Art Center, from 1991 – Present

From 1991 to 1995, the focus of Harwood was to begin to build its own community of artists and connect to the neighborhood. To this end, artist studios and gallery spaces were prepared, and arts education programming was instituted. In 1995, year-round programming, including an after-school arts outreach program and a summer art camp for children, was established. In the years since, Harwood has expanded our reach to serve a broad audience of youth and adults with a variety of programs, including arts education, engagement and community outreach initiatives for all ages, as well as resident studio, apprenticeship, teaching and professional development opportunities for artists.

Looking to the Future

With the burgeoning downtown renaissance, Harwood is poised to play a pivotal role in the next phase of Albuquerque’s life: We understand that thriving city centers matter. Innovation and cultural vibrancy matter. As our city seeks a brighter future for all of our citizens – one that embraces bold ideas, sensitive economic development, and young professionals and families saying ‘yes’ to downtown – Harwood’s creative presence can serve as a powerful and foundational centerpoint.

Towards these aims, we’ve spent the last several years engaged in comprehensive organizational and campus master planning efforts, so that we can honor the historic significance of our particular place in Albuquerque while stewarding and magnifying our impact for residents, present and future.