Four CityMakers named in Albuquerque

Victoriano Cárdenas earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico in 2020. Cárdenas was named one of four CityMakers (Courtesy City of Albuquerque)

The City of Albuquerque has baptized four area artists CityMakers.

Aaron Richardson

The Department of Arts and Culture program brings Albuquerque artists and their creativity into the public sector to develop projects that positively impact and inspire communities.

The city will pay each artist up to 20 hours of work per week for 10 months, department director Elsa Menendez said.

Around 30 artists have submitted applications for the program.

“It’s a new program; it started last year,” Menendez said. “Word about it continues to circulate.”

Artists have submitted ideas for possible projects, but nothing has been decided yet.

Last year’s artists created a dance and movement workshop for the Wellness Hotel for homeless families, painted the skate park at the Alamosa Community Center, and completed mural-related projects.

Annie Mitchem graduated in 2022 from the University of New Mexico.

This year’s finalists are:

• Victoriano Cárdenas, a trans poet from Genízaro (detribalized Native Americans who were taken to Hispanic and Pueblo villages as indentured servants) and of Boriken descent. Born and raised in Taos, his poetry examines the intersections of identity in an atmosphere of colonization, climate crisis, and queer and transphobic oppression. Cárdenas earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico in 2020.

• Aaron Richardson is a self-taught realist/expressionist painter working in oil and charcoal. He has had solo exhibitions in Albuquerque and San Antonio, Texas. He worked as a paint animator for film and had drawings used as props for a television series. Since 2019, he exhibits and sells works at ArtsThrive at the Albuquerque Museum.

• Annie Mitchem is a visual artist specializing in acrylic painting and photography within the aesthetics of AfroFuturism. Born and raised in Albuquerque, she has family roots dating back to Blackdom, New Mexico. Mitchem is passionate about amplifying black voices and creating spaces for learning, creativity and action. She graduated in 2022 from the University of New Mexico.

• Jacob Garcia grew up in Edgewood and is based in Albuquerque. He finds his inspiration in the rich culture and history of New Mexico. He has explored many artistic mediums, focusing on painting, sculpture, conceptual work and digital art.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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