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Hispanic arts workshop in the works for ABQ

Mayor Richard Berry talks about a plan by the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Central New Mexico Community College to create the National Hispanic Arts Institute & Workshop. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Mayor Richard Berry talks about a plan by the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Central New Mexico Community College to create the National Hispanic Arts Institute & Workshop. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Hispanic Cultural Center and Central New Mexico Community College are combining forces to create the National Hispanic Arts Institute & Workshop.

It will occupy the 45,000-square-foot warehouse owned by the NHCC and located on the southeast corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and Fourth Street.

“The design of the renovated facility will encourage interaction between professional artists and mentors, students, community members and visitors to New Mexico,” said Rebecca Avitia, NHCC executive director, “while also preserving a space that looks and feels like the traditional home ‘workshop,’ complete with all kinds of tools equipment and materials for building and creating – looms, table saws, soldering irons, screen printers and sewing machines.”

The workshop will build on the innovative approaches and technologies of current maker-movement models while cultivating new energy in traditional arts.

The project is scheduled to begin its first phase in the fall of 2016, with a full grand opening in the fall of 2017.

When the workshop is fully functioning, it is expected to draw 20,000 people a year.

Avitia said it will cost between $1 million to $3 million to renovate and purchase equipment, which will be primarily generated through private fundraising. It is expected to cost between $200,000 and $300,000 to run.

Mayor Richard Berry said the collaboration is big for many reasons other than driving tourism and the economy.

“Albuquerque can be anything we want it to be,” Berry said. “Let’s be us.”

Avitia said the workshop is the next big step for the center.

“There are smaller versions of this around the country,” Avitia said. “We had the opportunity to build the bridge that brings together artists.”

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