Touring N.M.

Murals Abound in Duke City

Artist Pascal, from Buenos Aires, Argentina painted this huge mural called “Cross Pollination”on MLK and 2nd St. NE.
Jon Knudsen, February 2018

There must be a hundred murals here in the Duke City. They compliment a very strong public art program which includes hundreds of pieces bought through our decades-old One Percent for the Arts Initiative. This art scene is one reason Sunset magazine named Albuquerque “Best Place to Live” in the southwestern United States.

Many of the murals are in the downtown area. Much of the rest of the public art is spread out through the city. Finding them can be difficult, however there are a couple of websites that can help you find and visit some of these wonderful pieces.

• The 516 Arts Downtown Murals Tour

516 Arts, a non-profit contemporary art museum downtown, has been a leader in promoting murals for the last 10 years. Executive Director Suzanne Sbarge states, “Our mission is education, communication and dialogue.”

This has led to the creation of murals depicting street art and hip-hop culture, as well as bringing in world-renowned muralists from as far away as Argentina. “It’s important to keep Albuquerque connected with the rest of the world — our place and time and other places.”

The 516 Arts’ website has a link to a walking tour map of the downtown murals, along with pictures and information. Visit

Some murals occur in the most unlikely places — even alleys, like the striking “We Exist Somewhere Between Limbo and Purgatory” by Ernest Doty of Oakland, Calif. and “Brainbow Alley” by Albuquerque’s Larry Bob Phillips.

• ABQ Public Art Bicycle Ride

Bicycling is another option. A 20-mile bike ride takes you past 30 works of public art. Pictures, directions and a map can be accessed by Googling “ABQ Art Bicycle Tour.” It begins at Winrock, winds its way past UNM, circles Civic Plaza and then returns. But you can halve that mileage by riding downhill to Civic Plaza and taking the RapidRide #766 bus back to Winrock.

Two highlights of this route are old favorites, the Luis Jimenez sculptures “Fiesta Jarabel” in front of Popejoy Hall on the UNM campus, and “Southwest Pieta” on Edith and Roma NE. Another piece, and a favorite among kids and other creative thinkers, is “Center of the Universe” by Bruce Baumann, also on the UNM campus.

Jon Knudsen is a freelance journalist and retired teacher. Email him at


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