Mural Dedication: Color Sphere

Mural Dedication: Color Sphere

by PA System for Habitat: Exploring Climate Change Through the Arts

Mural Dedication: Friday, January 29, 3-5pm at Tricklock Performance Laboratory
Painting process: January 18 – 29, 2016

Mural Location: 115 Gold Ave SW, Downtown Albuquerque (between 1st & 2nd)
Dedication Location: Tricklock Performance Laboratory, 110 Gold Ave SW (across the street from the mural site)

On Friday, January 29 516 ARTS co-presented a special dedication event to celebrate the completion of Downtown Albuquerque's newest public art mural and gave the community an opportunity to meet Canadian guest artists PA System!  The event included light refreshments and musical performances by percUsioNewMexico, the most recent chamber music ensemble at UNM, under the direction of professor Scott Ney.  

516 ARTS, in partnership with Downtown ABQ MainStreet Initiative, presents Color Sphere, a new site-specific Downtown mural as the culminating piece of 516 ARTS' season-long series called HABITAT: Exploring Climate Change Through the Arts, sharing the message of this project into the future. We welcomed special guest artists team PA System – Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka from Toronto – who created the mural January 18-29, 2016 on the building at 115 Gold Ave SW in Downtown Albuquerque on the Theatre Block between 1st & 2nd Streets. The artists were assisted by youth apprentices from Working Classroom. The mural is the first mural under the City of Albuquerque's new public/private partnership program to help fund public art murals on private property through the 1% for Art Ordinance.

Color Sphere breaks the corner space of 115 Gold Ave SW and plays to the location's right angles by introducing a large round form reminiscent of a planet whose core will be filled with painterly and playfully rendered objects. These objects, which can be interpreted as artifacts, microscopic specimens of ocean life or magnified grains of sand, will take on their own characters, personalities and interconnected dialogue. 

The artists say, "We are constantly brought back to the observation made by researchers when studying astronauts and cosmonauts upon their return to Earth. The Overview Effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.  It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, 'hanging in the void,' shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere.  From space, astronauts claim, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this 'pale blue dot' becomes both obvious and imperative.  The forms within the color sphere will change slightly while we paint them.  Like high arctic soap stone carvers revealing the bear within the rock or like archaeologists brushing away dirt from a dig to find tools from an unidentified peoples, we will arrange our finds within the core of the color sphere and display them for all to see."

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PA System, comprised of artists Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka, works in textile, printmaking, painting, film and large-scale public art, internationally and particularly in Canada's high arctic.  PA System has exhibited work at the Royal Ontario Museum's Institute for Contemporary Culture, The Trace Gallery in Zurich, Articulate Baboon Gallery in Cairo, and the Institute for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona.  Their projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Art Council, The Chalmers Family Fellowship, and the BC Arts Council. 


percUsioNewMexico focuses on performing the music of contemporary and historically important composers, as well as exploring traditional music from Africa, Cuba, Brazil and the Middle East.  Over the past few years, they have performed at universities and festivals in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Indiana.  A new goal for the group is to bring contemporary percussion music out of the concert hall and into the community by performing at different venues and events around Albuquerque.


516 ARTS has a history of creating high-quality, contemporary art murals in Downtown Albuquerque that are presented in conjunction with its exhibitions, which serve as a thematic guide and a marketing umbrella for the murals. The area between Copper & Silver and 2nd & 3rd Streets has become a showcase for 516 ARTS' murals by acclaimed local and national artists, and the mural by PA System will add an international element to this special section of new development in Downtown Albuquerque featuring world-class contemporary art murals.

This project is made possible with lead funding from The City of Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Program and additional support from Albuquerque 2030 District and the Historic District Improvement Company.  Special thanks to the McCune Charitable Foundation.

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