By Nick Stern, Managing Editor | Photos by Nick Stern
CNM students were proud to be a part of 516 ARTS’ Heart of the City Art Exhibition on 516 Central Avenue SW, from February 1 at 6 p.m. until May 3 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Art History major, Patricia Del Rio Jaen said.
Jaen said the same CNM art class that created the Signs of the Times mural was led by Instructor Larry Bob Phillips which the class also had an exhibit in the show, which was called Signs of Life.
Heart of the City consisted of a series of collaborations, which all explored the city environment through many different projects including art, urban planning, cultural and economic development, education, and community dialogue, said Executive Director of 516 ARTS, Suzanne Sbarge, who was also the project director of this collaboration.
There were thirteen different organizations involved with the collaboration, including CNM, and some of which were Ace Barbershop, Warehouse 508, and Amy Biehl High School, according to the program guide for the exhibition.
Jaen said the project CNM students had created was made up of over a dozen different signs that the students picked out, designed, and painted themselves.
Phillips’ class stuck to the traditional style of the Route 66 era sign painting that they had used for the mural they created downtown as part of the same Heart of the City collaboration called Signs of the Times, Jaen said.
“For the style, we tried to stick to the classic sign painting style so everything is very crisp and it is very traditional,” she said.
Jaen said that it seems everyone had a great time as the art space was packed for most of the night, and that it is good that the school partners up with projects such as this for students to learn outside the classroom.
Jaen said she is very proud of the work that her class created and that CNM should be very proud of it as well.
Sbarge said the idea for Heart of the City came from a longing to examine and analyze what was all around the people of Albuquerque, which could be interpreted differently by people, and making the focus of this project on Albuquerque culture and history based out of the Downtown area.
“The idea for Heart of the City emerged out of our desire to examine what is literally right outside our front doors,” she said.
CNM participation in the collaborations is very impressive because not only was their art next to other professional artists’ work but their Signs of the Times mural is also always going to be in public for the entire city of Albuquerque to look at, she said.
Jesse Philips, who has a bachelor’s in illustration, played a big part in designing both projects that CNM students worked on and he had a lot of fun doing it, he said.
Philips said he is good friends with Instructor Phillips and the two have worked on many projects together, he said.
Philips said he has always been inspired by the Route 66 era signage that has a big part in Albuquerque’s history and culture, who also believes that it is a lost art that has pretty much been replaced by canned signs that are a dime a dozen that require no skill to make, and he was happy to help preserve a little bit of the style.
“I think it is good that they are preserving stuff, like when hotels get torn down they keep the sign up because it is a symbol of our history,” he said.
Philips said he had a great time at the exhibition, as well as having a chance to work with the students of CNM on an outside project.
He had a lot of fun working with them and was very impressed by their drive to get the project done.
Jaen said, the students had already gotten the credit for the class, yet they were still showing up every day to work on the project and in the end they had something much greater than a good grade to be proud of with this one of a kind project to work with 516 ARTS.