The Midtown neighborhood of Albuquerque shares a border with the 600-acre University of New Mexico campus, north of Central Avenue. The area is recognized for golfing, performing arts, dining, and eclectic shopping, and its many murals.
Traveling east on Central Avenue, one leaves behind the neon lights of Nob Hill and moves into a more industrial area enlivened with murals by local artists. Choose a place to park or take the ART bus to the area and wander along both sides of Central Avenue to see dozens of professionally painted murals addressing contemporary concerns and New Mexico themes. Let’s preview some of the many murals you’ll see in this popular Albuquerque neighborhood.
2110 Central Ave. SE
This mural is a collaboration between artists Shine and Release. The main subject of the wall takes aim with a drawn arrow at a coal-burning power plant in the distance.
Release is an Albuquerque-based street artist who works mainly with aerosol, acrylic, latex, and oil-based paints. His work explores energy in motion and humanity’s relationship to the earth. No information is available on Shine.
Gamma Gallery, 2000 Central Ave. SE
This mural features a man working on a model Santa Fe Railway train.
This mural features a woman with pursed lips twisting her hair while staring at the viewer.
Gamma Acosta is a self-taught artist from Denver, Colorado, whose focus is activist realism. His work has been a part of street art festivals throughout the world.
Pricklies and Crawlies
1916 Central Ave. SE
Pricklies and Crawlies by artist Andrew Fearnside depicts New Mexican bugs in an imaginary landscape of psychedelic prickly pears, bones, and faceted rocks.
Fearnside completed a BFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in his native Boston. Fearnside, who now resides in Albuquerque, wrote: “I make murals and illustrations that use texture, pattern, and color to explore relationships: shape and edges, harmony and disharmony, novelty and stability.”
Rudolfo Anaya Portrait
1425 Central Ave. NE
The artist of the mural of Rudolfo Anaya is unknown, but the subject is not. Anaya was an American author and New Mexico native who was recognized for his novel Bless Me, Ultima. Anaya was considered one of the founders of the canon of contemporary Chicano literature and another of his best-known works is titled Albuquerque.
1115 Central Ave. NE
This mural gives the illusion of a three-dimensional chrome sculpture of a dog. Artist Joshua Santos Rivera, also known under the pseudonyms of “Bik”, “Ismo” and “Bik-Ismo,” was born in Puerto Rico. Joshua has worked as a graffiti artist for almost two decades.
Respect Reproductive Freedom
724 Central Ave. SE
Jodie Herrera, a painter with Latina, Apache and Comanche ancestry, received her BFA from the University of New Mexico. Herrera’s stated goal is to connect and uplift all women. She has several murals in Albuquerque and this one features a woman looking at viewers.
Power to the Patients
712 Central Ave. SE
Designed by Shepard Fairey and painted by Jaque Fragua, this mural is part of a national project about healthcare and patients’ rights. Fragua, a multi-media artist from Jemez Pueblo, experiments with various mediums to highlight civil unrest and social justice. Fragua studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He also has worked with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture to produce progressive exhibits concerning the plight of Native Americans.
Honor the People
524 Central Ave. SE
The theme of this collaborative mural by Artists Nani Chacon and Jacque Fragua is the protection of sacred land by focusing attention on a proposed uranium mine near Mount Taylor. The mural features an Indigenous child and the words “Honor the People” and “Protect Mount Taylor.”
Nanibah “Nani” Chacon, a Diné (Navajo) and Chicana artist, creates female figurative works, utilizing bold colors to comment on Native, Chicana, and American culture. Nani was born in Gallup and grew up in Corrales and Chinle, Arizona.
The Cuckoo’s Nest and What You Hustlin’ Brother?
515 Central Ave. NE
Aaron Noble collaborated with Faustino Villa and Roberto Reyes to create this mural inspired by comic book imagery. His interests involve contemporary popular street culture, Western comic art, Japanese anime and manga, video games, and technology.
Avanyu Tale of the Wind Paint Warriors
515 Central Ave. NE
This mural by an anonymous painter features the Avanyu symbol, which represents one of the many snake-like deities that figure in the mythology of many of the area’s Native American tribes. The zigzags and curves of the snake are suggestive of flowing water.
512 Central Ave. SE
Sofia Maldonado, a Puerto Rican painter and muralist, uses color abstractions as a signifier of decay in this abstract mural of stylized clouds and lightning.
312 Central Ave SE
Scribe, also known as Donald Ross, is an artist from Kansas City, Missouri. He has painted murals throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This mural on the side of a tattoo parlor features fantastical characters with a Southwestern vibe.
524 Central Ave. SE
The image by Anita Bea, signed as @botanartist, features a pink and purple prickly pear cactus.
1314 Las Lomas Rd. —
Therdai is a Cuban American street artist and muralist who lives in Albuquerque. He has a multitude of inspirations and works in a variety of art mediums. This mural features a portrait of iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.