News

Aug 13, 2012

Landmark Mural Restored


First Choice collaborated with Working Classroom and the South Broadway Neighborhood Association to get a grant to pay for the mural restoration. The grant to pay for the restoration came from Bernalillo County. The original artist, Joe Stephenson, is working with a crew from the South Broadway and San Jose neighborhoods and Working Classroom, a non-profit arts program in Barelas, to restore the mural.

The mural is 20 years old and has served many community-building purposes over the years. The painting process itself, as captured in this documentary video from 1991, engaged youth, caring adults and elders in the community in the design and artistic expression of “health.” It instilled community pride and garnered a protected status that kept it free from graffiti for many years.  For the neighborhood, it turned a once blighted concrete block wall into an outdoor art gallery for neighborhood residents, visitors to the shopping center and passersby to enjoy.  It has truly become a landmark – the mural on the corner of Broadway and Cesar Chavez is known by all. The many cultures depicted in the mural reflect the demographic makeup and diversity of the neighborhood – a historically African-American community mixed with Mexican, Native American, and Anglo ethnic identities – all of which offer complementary medicine traditions.

Recently, as paint faded and peeled, graffiti has begun to appear.  It is now necessary to restore the mural to its landmark status and to protect it from further deterioration. The restoration and re-dedication of the mural will service several community purposes:

  • Provide opportunities for youth and caring adults and elders to interact and share their conceptualizations and visualizations of health and what makes a healthy community;
  • Provide a venue for youth to showcase their artistic talents;
  • Provide opportunities for youth to develop their leadership and project development and management skills alongside adult mentors and community elders;
  • Cultivate a lifelong commitment to community development and community health promotion among all the participants, from the youth artists to their mentors, to the neighborhood leaders and adjacent property owners;
  • Raise awareness among Bernalillo County residents of the health care services available to them through collaboration of Bernalillo County government with First Choice Community Healthcare.