Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

Celebrating the arts

Artist and musician Frank McCulloch will be awarded the Legacy Award for his more than 60 year in the folk music scene. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the 31st time, the city has released a list of creative people and organizations that have had a significant impact on the community, with local musician Frank McCulloch taking the top award.

The Creative Bravos Awards were resurrected by the city last year after the nonprofit group that gave them out each year dissolved. McCulloch will receive the Legacy Award for his more than 60 years in the folk music scene. The native New Mexican grew up hearing folk music in the state and Mexico and started playing in the 1950s. He has recorded dozens of songs and taught high school art for 30 years. He’s also known as a landscape painter.

Shelle Sanchez, director of the city’s Cultural Services Department, said the award ceremony was on hiatus for several years when the city decided to take over the decades-old tradition.

“It’s really important to recognize people’s contributions,” she said. “Sometimes for creative people, it’s even more important, because we don’t always have those spaces where those people are recognized.”

The Cultural Services Department selects the legacy recipient, but a committee headed by Albuquerque first lady Elizabeth Kistin Keller, chose the nine other awardees.

“It’s with great pleasure we recognize the Creative Bravos recipients for their contributions to the creative economy and overall local economic development,” Keller said in a city news release. “Each recipient plays an integral role in establishing the unique depth and density of creativity in this community.”

The city will recognize all the award recipients during a ceremony at 7 p.m. Nov. 1, at the KiMo Theatre. Tickets are $10, and the event will include performances by some of the awardees and a poetry reading by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Michelle Otero. Doors open at 6 p.m., and D’Santi Nava will provide the music. The Kamikaze Kitchen & Food Truck will be on-site, and Red Door Brewing Co. will host a cash bar. Le Chat Lunatique will play music at the after-party, also at the KiMo.

“Arts and culture are a critical part of our vitality,” Sanchez said. “It’s important for us to do this, because when someone is recognized by their peers and in a public way, it translates in other opportunities.”

The 2019 Creative Bravos Awards winners are:

Meltdown Studio

The jewelry-making school and co-working studio opened in 2006. It provides permanent benches for 20 artists, private instruction, classes and an open studio. It is being recognized for serving the city’s jewelry-making community.

OFFCenter Community Arts Project

The nonprofit, walk-in, Downtown art center offers a space for all artists to create, including the city’s homeless population. It provides classes and a chance for artists to socialize with other creative people. It opened in 2001.

OT Circus

The nonprofit art gallery provides programs, pop-up art shows and monthly artist markets to help local artists and crafters sell their work. It aims to provide a safe, supportive space to help those with physical, cognitive or social development challenges.

The Revolutions International Theatre Festival

Drea Lusion and Eric Parthum presented “Figmentally” as part of the Tricklock Revolutions Festival in 2019. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

The annual event brings world theater to New Mexico, featuring performers from around the globe, including Argentina, Uganda, Poland, Colombia, France and Zimbabwe. It’s produced by the professional ensemble theater group Tricklock Company.

Amanda Sutton

The event coordinator for independent bookstore Bookworks has left her impact on New Mexico’s literary world. She is a former staff member at the University of New Mexico Press and has worked for other small presses and authors. As coordinator, she hosted notable authors Stephen King and George RR Martin.

Rujeko Dumbutshena

Rujeko Dumbutshena, right, is a dance instructor in Albuquerque and will receive a Creative Bravos Award. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

The African dance instructor and performer has raised cultural awareness. She moved to Albuquerque in 1996 and has taught and performed in primary and secondary schools and at universities.




Trupthi Panickor

The classically-trained Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam and Kathakali dancer and teacher has brought several Indian dance productions to Albuquerque. She has created programs that help students better understand their culture and has encouraged the idea of “dancing for a cause.”

John Acosta

A native of Albuquerque, Acosta works with young people with the aim of helping them find their voice and recognizing their innate talents and passions through the art of filmmaking. Acosta has faced adversity and encourages his students, especially those who live in at-risk communities, to be active members of society.

Sheri Crider

Crider runs the Sanitary Tortilla Factory, in Southwest Albuquerque in the space formerly occupied by the M & J Sanitary Restaurant, a Mexican cafe and tortilla factory. The space now has 15 below-market-value studios, exhibitions, shared fabrication space and occasional artist or social justice residency.

Subscribe now! Albuquerque Journal limited-time offer

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email or Contact the writer.