Four CityMakers named in Albuquerque

Victoriano Cárdenas earned his MFA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico in 2020. Cárdenas has been named one of four CityMakers (Courtesy of the city of Albuquerque)

The city of Albuquerque has christened four area artists as CityMakers.

Aaron Richardson

The Department of Arts and Culture program brings Albuquerque artists and their creativity into the public sector to develop projects to positively impact and inspire communities.

The city will pay each artist up to 20 hours of work per week for 10 months, department director Elsa Menendez said.

About 30 artists submitted applications for the program.

“It’s a new program; it started last year,” Menendez said. “Word about it is still getting out and around.”

The artists entered ideas for possible projects, but nothing has been decided yet.

Last year’s artists created a dance and movement workshop for the Wellness Hotel for unsheltered families, painted the Alamosa Community Center Skate Park and performed mural-related projects.

Annie Mitchem is a 2022 graduate from the University of New Mexico.

This year’s finalists are:

• Victoriano Cárdenas, a trans poet of Genízaro (detribalized Native Americans who were taken into Hispano and pueblo villages as indentured servants) and Boriken descent. Born and raised in Taos, his poetry examines the intersections of identity in an atmosphere of colonization, climate crisis and queer and transphobic oppression. Cárdenas earned his MFA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico in 2020.

• Aaron Richardson is a self-taught realist/expressionist painter working in oils and charcoal. He’s had solo shows in both Albuquerque and San Antonio, Texas. He has worked as a painting animator for film and had drawings used as props for a TV series. Since 2019, he has shown and sold works at ArtsThrive at the Albuquerque Museum.

• Annie Mitchem is a visual artist with an emphasis on acrylic painting and photography in the aesthetic of AfroFuturism. Born and raised in Albuquerque, she boasts familial roots tracing back to Blackdom, New Mexico. Mitchem is passionate about amplifying Black voices and creating spaces for learning, creativity and action. She is a 2022 graduate from the University of New Mexico.

• Jacob Garcia was raised in Edgewood and is based in Albuquerque. He finds inspiration in New Mexico’s rich culture and history. He has explored many mediums of art, focusing on painting, sculpture, conceptual work and digital art.