New African American Performing Arts Center starts with a bang
By Kyra Gurney
Susan Luna spent several months last year traveling around New Mexico, photographing African-American families. She snapped shots of them in their churches, schools and homes to create a portrait of the Black community across the state. Starting in February, her artwork will be on display at the African American Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall at Expo New Mexico to celebrate Black History Month.
The performing arts center is a new addition to Albuquerque's art community, opening last June after six years of fundraising and legislative appropriations. And it’s growing strong. Program Manager Donald Jordan says the facility received an average of 150 visitors a month last year and continues to expand its audience. In less than a year, the center has become a cultural hub for the African-American community in New Mexico, showcasing art exhibits and hosting music and dance performances that, according to Jordan, will "preserve the culture and history of African-Americans."
Tuesday, Feb. 12 1001 Black Inventions 6 p.m. Free This performance highlights the contributions of African-Americans by imagining a world in which the inventions of Black people don't exist.
Saturday, Feb. 16 Dennis Mackrel with the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra and Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet with Special Guest Bobby Shew 8 p.m. $25 general admission, $20 New Mexico Jazz Workshop members, $10 students The New Mexico Jazz Workshop teams up with the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra to bring a mixture of jazz and Afro-Peruvian music to the performing arts center. Thursday, April 24 Metropolitan Orchestra and Friends 7 p.m. reception, 8 p.m. performance $50 performance, $75 performance and reception Arguably the highlight of the Spring season. Musicians from the Metropolitan Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and others will join together for an evening to benefit the Performing Arts Center.
Thursday, Feb. 7 to Thursday, May 1 Photo Essay of African Americans in New Mexico Free
The African American Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall is located at the Expo New Mexico Fairgrounds (310 San Pedro NE). The center can be reached at 222-0777.