Information for the Finalists:

516 ARTS, in partnership with Downtown ABQ MainStreet Initiative, the City of Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Program and Geltmore, LLC and YES Housing Inc., announces a call to artists who have shown at 516 ARTS in the past 10 years to be considered for a mural commission on the new Imperial Building in Downtown Albuquerque, which will house the long-awaited grocery store. The mural will be created by a lead artist and will be assisted by youth apprentices from Working Classroom.


Imperial Building wallsThe Imperial Building (205 Silver Ave. SW) is at 2nd Street and Silver Avenue in Downtown Albuquerque. There are two walls designated for the mural wrapping around the northeast corner. This prominent site will be an iconic addition to the public art landscape of Downtown Albuquerque, in an area that has several murals nearby by well-known artists, as well as vibrant restaurants, cafes, offices and local stores.

The east-facing wall is the required mural space, and the north-facing wall is optional additional space. Artists may propose to use any portion of the north-facing wall or none of it.

Click to download the images of these two walls and dimensions.


If selected as one of the 6 finalists, artists are encouraged to consider the context of the mural site in the development of their site-specific proposals.

Downtown Albuquerque (Bernalillo County - Census Tract 20) is a designated Food Desert, as classified by the USDA. For decades, efforts have been made to bring a grocery store to downtown Albuquerque. In 1999, a plan for the area entitled the “Downtown 2010 Sector Development Plan” detailed that one of the “catalytic projects” to revitalize downtown would be the opening of a full service grocery store.  Eventually, in July of 2012, the City’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency issued an RFP (“Request for Proposals”) for a one-acre site on the south end of Downtown Albuquerque. The RFP was for developers to propose ideas for a project with the only requirement being a minimum of a 6,000 square foot Grocery store be a part of the proposal. Geltmore LLC, a local family owned development company was selected as the developer.
For more information on the Imperial Building development, download the PDF. For more information on the Chinese history of of the Imperial Building, download the PDF.

Submissions for the open call were narrowed down to 6 finalists to submit site-specific proposals. The final proposal will be selected by a committee comprised of representatives from the City of Albuquerque Arts Board, 516 ARTS, Downtown ABQ MainStreet Initiative, Geltmore, LLC and its partner YES Housing Inc. The youth apprentices will be selected by Working Classroom.

The 6 finalists will each received a fee of $400 to complete a full proposal, of which one will be selected or this project. The selected artist will receive $11,000 in support of realizing the finalized design. This total amount includes travel, lodging, per diem (if applicable), materials (paint, brushes, rollers, etc..) and equipment (scaffolding or lift rental etc..)

Thursday, July 7, 2016                             Call to artists launched
Thursday, August 4, 2016                       Deadline for artists to submit to open call
Wednesday, August 31, 2016                Notification of 3-5 artists selected to submit full proposals
Friday, September 30, 2016                   Full proposals due from finalists
Early October 2016                                  Final artist selection announced
October/November 2016                        Mural painting process
November 2016                                        Public mural dedication event at opening of grocery store (date TBA)

As a finalist, your full proposal must be submitted by email to by September 30, 11:50pm MST. Your final proposal should include the following in a single PDF (send via Dropbox, Google Drive, WeTransfer, etc. if the file size gets too large):

• At least 5 images and details showing your proposed design; please also include a mockup/site rendering. 
• 100-word narrative description of your proposed design and process, including and how your concept relates to the site. Please see the CONTEXT section of this page for additional resources regarding the site history.
• Mailing address (if different from what you submitted for your preliminary proposal) so we can mail your honorarium.

The mural creation and dedication will be advertised by 516 ARTS as part of our 10th Anniversary exhibition titled DECADE (October 15, 2016 – January 7, 2017). It will also be featured by all of the partners on our websites, social media and through press releases. A video of the mural process will be created and shared widely.

516 ARTS is an independent, nonprofit contemporary arts organization, operating a museum-style gallery in the center of Downtown Albuquerque. Our mission is to forge connections between art and audiences, and our vision is to be an active partner in developing the cultural landscape of Albuquerque and New Mexico. We value inquiry, diversity, collaboration and accessibility. 516 ARTS offers programs that inspire curiosity, dialogue, risk-taking and creative experimentation, showcasing established and emerging local, national and international artists from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Claude Smith, Education and Exhibitions Manager, 516 ARTS,

This project is made possible by:

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