It’s fair to say that Downtown Albuquerque hasn’t been looking all that great over the last few years. Businesses were struggling. People experiencing homelessness were struggling. There always seemed to be an endless flow of trash on the street despite all kinds of efforts. Then came the pandemic that shuttered much of the businesses. Followed by protests that were followed by window smashers. The next morning more particle boards went up over windows and doors all along Central. Downtown was looking the worst it ever had.
Enter Victoria Van Dame and Jessica Anderson from OT Circus. They connected artists with business to create “a community project to revitalize Downtown while promoting peace.” The result has been the transformation of Downtown into a public gallery of fresh, local work, rendering Albuquerque into a city unlike any other in America.
While there are many individual standout works, it is the totality of the project that is the most impressive. Organizers have put together a walking show this Friday to bring together the community to not only connect the artists with patrons, but to create a positive conversation about the future of Downtown and the role of the arts. At a time when both Downtown and artists have suffered so much, Painting for Peace is a step in the right direction.