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Editorial: Barelas teen artists turn ABQ intersection into traffic safety art

The intersection mural at Fourth and Hazeldine SW is not just pretty public art, it’s also intended to help slow down drivers through the Barelas neighborhood.

Getting motorists to come to a complete stop at an intersection can sometimes be challenging. But police are likely to encounter the opposite at Fourth Street and Hazeldine Avenue SW in Southwest Albuquerque. There, in the middle of the Barelas intersection, is vivid artwork inspired by Albuquerque visual artist Reyes Padilla and designed by a group of teen artists in the neighborhood.

“Sunset Mix” is Albuquerque’s first intersection mural. And it is impressive.

The Barelas Youth Team – comprised of Delilah Montoya, Joseph Furlow, Angelina Lucero, Mercedes Perez-Chavez, Lina Sanchez, Delilah Tapia, Jaylene Torres, Danna Velasquez and Dante Wisch – conducted a door-to-door neighborhood survey and made a presentation of their design to the Barelas Neighborhood Association. From there, the neighborhood association and the Barelas Community Coalition brought in more community input. The teen artists and a crew from Creative Paving Solutions transformed the intersection April 23 and 24 into pavement of art. And the artwork is expected to last because the color sealer penetrates asphalt permanently, says Merlyn Nyght of Creative Paving Solutions.

The city says the mural is part of Albuquerque’s Vision Zero pledge that Mayor Tim Keller signed in 2019 to reduce traffic fatalities. “Art like this can make drivers slow down, notice their surroundings, and become more attentive on the road,” says city spokesman Babaak Parcham, who said a second mural led by artists from the International District Youth Team is in the works for a wall on Louisiana near the Expo Center.

The intersection mural is a jazzy expression of the Barelas neighborhood. It’s also an indication of the vast untapped talent of our local youth.

Kudos to everyone who made the intersection a work of art. And especially the young artists who took the time to make our city a safer, more attractive place.

For more information and photos of the project, visit

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.