There is more opportunity to experience the arts in Albuquerque thanks to the successful partnership of UNM’s College of Fine Arts (CFA) and the City of Albuquerque. Out of a mutual interest in boosting the cultural community downtown, the CFA Downtown Studio was created to help activate and enliven under-utilized spaces in the City’s center.

The Studio has been something CFA Dean Kymberly Pinder and several CFA faculty members, created working collaboratively with City of Albuquerque leaders Betty Rivera, Retired Cultural Services director, and Gregory P. Smith, deputy director of the Department of Municipal Development (DMD).

“This collaboration is based on what the City and UNM's artists can create together and that has become a dynamic site where our students experience professional engagement and downtown gets more cultural programming—it's a win-win that makes me very proud," said Pinder.

The City’s DMD feels the same way. “DMD understood that providing a location in the downtown area for arts education would benefit both UNM students and our community as a whole,” said Smith. “With the direction and leadership of Mayor Richard J. Berry we worked on developing a long-term agreement with the UNM College of Fine Arts. This gives UNM arts students the ability to engage with the community. The space is already being utilized and I have enjoyed attending several exhibit openings. DMD is very pleased with the agreement in place and looks forward to a long-lasting partnership.”

Patio Downtown Studio
The Downtown Studio includes a patio for performances, music and receptions. The space, surrounded by an aged brick facade and tall buildings, exudes a hip urban vibe. 

In addition to the outreach mission of the partnership, the Downtown Studio provides space for exhibition tours and concerts for nearby schools, businesses and organizations. Nusenda Credit Union is also utilizing the space for a financial literacy workshop open to the public on April 6 at 6 p.m.

The University signed a lease agreement with the City of Albuquerque securing the space for just a $1 a year. The partnership with the City will last at least through 2021 as the City Council passed a five-year lease agreement in February. The DMD prepped the space for the Studio and continues to provide infrastructure support, HVAC, electrical and roof maintenance. UNM provided the Wi-Fi, a phone line, additional lighting, furniture and classroom equipment.

CFA Downtown Studio
The Downtown Studio, located at 113 Fourth St. NW.

“The CFA Downtown Studio is an absolute necessity for student artists and the larger UNM creative community,” said Eugene Ellenberg, a UNM graduate student. “Having such a space located amidst local businesses, social spots and contemporary galleries makes for the possibility of public engagement with the greater Albuquerque community which is not always available through on-campus efforts. In short, this allows UNM CFA to bring the arts to the public which is a valuable experience for aspiring creatives to have now as it best reflects what’s ahead for them after their time in academia.”

College of Fine Arts Downtown Studio hosts "Recompose"

UNM art student revisits her relationship with material items by clocking-in
The latest thought provoking exhibit at the CFA Downtown Studio opened recently to curious onlookers. Walking into the Studio a giant loom immediately catches your eye. With over 2.5 miles of hand-spun yarn, the loom, custom built to the space, stands in spotlit isolation. With cotton-warp stretching the length of the room you can’t help wonder if it’s possible to take on such an enormous task.

The artist brave enough to do so is Cristine Posner, an MFA student presenting the project as her thesis exhibition for the College of Fine Arts.

Hand-spun yarn
Over 2.5 miles of hand-spun yarn will "recompose" many the items artist Cristine Posner has displayed as part of her thesis exhibition.  

Originally Posner was getting a Master in Fine Arts in photography, but shortly after she moved to Albuquerque her camera equipment was stolen.

“I took what happened as a push to investigate other types of art making. I was interested in developing a more sustainable art practice,” said Posner. “I was experimenting with different types of art. I tried painting and other types of crafting, but didn’t love it.”

'Recompose' materials
The items used in ‘Recompose’ range from sentimental to inanimate objects. Posner is on a journey to figure out her relationship to these items. 

As a result, Posner, like other artist-crafters, amassed a collection of supplies and creations. Feeling responsible for their existence, she wanted to find a way to make them useful as a representation of past experiences and feelings. 'Recompose' brings all of these items together into one large piece.

“A thesis exhibition is a culmination of your time at the University. I decide to produce this large installation at the space to represent that. The work involved in the exhibit is just as important as the final product. It’s a durational performance. I’ll be here forty hours a week— clocking-in and out—preparing myself for what happens after graduate school.”

Accompanying the installation, is a traditional stamping time clock. For Posner, the clock and the work schedule it represents helps reinforce art as a career. The clock is also symbolic of the dedication and time it takes to produce art.

The Studio, serving as her office this next month, is open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The closing reception for 'Recompose' is on March 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Downtown Studio.

Follow the CFA Downtown Studio on Facebook for more news and art.