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BernCo aims to help creative community

A conceptual representation of one of the public art projects for Alvarado Square is a mural planned for the Commission Chambers. (Courtesy of Bernalillo County)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico is known around the world for its arts economy.

Bernalillo County’s Public Art Board is stepping in to help the creative economy through its unsolicited proposal process.

“The arts board is thinking a lot, right now, about the challenges that artists are facing in the midst of COVID-19,” says Bernalillo County Arts Board President Valerie Martínez. “Bernalillo County continues to infuse the economy with funding through the art in public places ordinance, and our unsolicited proposal process allows us to financially support our creative community. We urge artists to submit.”

The Bernalillo County Public Art program was established in 1992 with the adoption of the county’s art in public places ordinance, enacted in 1992.

The program is funded by 1% of the county’s general obligation bonds passed during the general election every two years, with the exception of library bonds. Public art projects are associated with these bond initiatives.

The county’s art in public places ordinance sets aside 1% of the budget of capital improvement projects for works of art.

Additionally, surplus funding from capital projects goes towards the 1% for the arts common fund which allows the county to purchase art for publicly accessible facilities through an unsolicited proposal process.

Proposals received through May 31 will be reviewed at the June Arts Board meeting.

Artists can submit proposals for a variety of media and styles, including two-dimensional and three-dimensional works.

Submissions received on or after June 1 through Dec. 31 will be reviewed at the January Arts Board meeting.

For more information about the unsolicited proposals process or the Bernalillo County Public Art program, contact Kent Swanson, Bernalillo County Public Art Coordinator,, or visit the Public Art page at

The county is currently moving forward on projects with various capital improvement projects for works of art.

They include pieces for the Tiny Home Village, the new Bernalillo County @ Alvarado Square facility, and the Bridge Boulevard and Sunport Boulevard reconstruction projects.

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