On Saturday, August 25th, downtown Albuquerque was transformed into a festival for an evening dedicated to the music and arts. This annual event featured multiple local and national acts, musical performances, crafts, and artwork. Enjoy the photo galleries of the highlights from SOMOS!
The Creative Bravos Award has returned to Albuquerque after being away for three years. Having a lengthy history with the City of Albuquerque, the Creative Bravos Award is given to members of the community whose work makes a significant impact on Albuquerque.
In the past the award was given annually to recognize the work of outstanding citizens and there creative contribution to the community.
“We the city in partnership with some amazing community partners felt that it (the award) was an important part of what’s going on in our arts and cultural community,” said Director of Cultural Services Dr. Shelle Sanchez.
Beginning her new role as Director of Cultural Services back in February of this year Sanchez said bringing back the award was one of the first things she wanted to see happen.
“It’s very important to validate and celebrate the contributions of people in our arts and cultural creative economy community,” Sanchez said. “Other fields do this. There is business awards all the time and leadership awards, it is something all other fields do. Without the Creative Bravos it’s not really happening in the Albuquerque community.”
When artist are recognized by their community it opens other doors for them, Sanchez said.
Winners of the Creative Bravos Awards come in all shapes, sizes and ages as 6-10 award will be given at a celebration in November. By allowing nominations of all ages to be accepted Sanchez hopes to recognize not just long time contributors to the artists community but rising stars as well.
“You can nominate an artist in any field,” Sanchez said. “Art administrators, art educators, creative entrepreneurs, art philanthropist, we’re really looking at celebrating the whole ecosystem of arts and cultural economy and community.”
While nominations are closed currently a community based election committee shared by first lady Elizabeth J. Kistin Keller, Sanchez said.
With winners notified in late September the award ceremony will take place on November 16th. While reintroducing the Bravos Awards was not a difficult or expensive program to organize, it took committed people to bring the award to reality, Sanchez said.
Sanchez immediately reached out to individuals in the city including those from several art organizations and cultural organizations across the city as well as an individual who worked on the committee for years during the Creative Bravos Awards last iteration, she said.
Some of the individuals Sanchez reached out to include Julia Mandeville with the Harwood Art Center and Valerie Martinez, Director of History & Literary Arts at National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Together these individuals are the ones that really did all the organizing and thoughtful work that pushed bringing the Creative Bravos Award back to Albuquerque, Sanchez said.
“That’s the thing that I’m most proud of,” she said. “Not only that we made it important to bring it back but that we also made partnering with our community an important part of bringing this back.”
With art organizers, the arts and the positive feedback from the community, Sanchez is confident that the award will be here to stay.
“It’s a really beautiful illustration of our arts and cultural diversity and richness here in Albuquerque and I think that people are just really happy to see this celebration come back,” Sanchez said. “There’s not another annual recognition of arts and culture specifically for our Albuquerque community. It’s a celebration but it’s also an honoring of peoples ongoing work and long term dedication to the field.”
Since the first Summerfest came to Civic Plaza in 1980, the city wide event has returned each year featuring free community events, children’s activities, an artisan market full of handcrafted goods, and discounts from local businesses.
From their Summerfest has only grown in size with now four local Summerfest events widespread across Albuquerque. The first of the events kicked off on June 9 with Heights Summerfest located in North Domingo Baca Park. Still three more events have yet to come with Route 66’s Summerfest located in Nob Hill on July 21, Downtown Summerfest located on Civic Plaza August 4 and Westside Summerfest at the Cottonwood Mall on August 18.
“The goal of the event series is to offer free, family-friendly safe events for the community,” said Bree Ortiz, Events and Operations Manager with the city of Albuquerque, Cultural Services Department.
A large part of summerfest includes music from performers who are both national and local. One performer is Grammy Award-winning singer, Irma Thomas who will be the headliner for Route 66’s Summerfest.
“For the national acts, we work with talent agencies to get an artist within our budget that is available at the time of the event,” Ortiz said. “For the local artists, we have most bands reaching out to us for an opportunity to perform.”
With hundreds of local businesses involved in each of the Summerfest events attendees can expect artisans, food trucks, and breweries at the event. Additionally, each Summerfest will have its own unique atmosphere such as Route 66’s Summerfest which will be showcased on the streets of Nob Hill.
This allows for attendees of the event to support local businesses while enjoying the outdoors and other events offered. With this, all of the Summerfest events are different and continue to be a quality event series that the community can look forward to, Ortiz said.
“This series had grown and evolved over the years by taking best practices and current desires into consideration,” she said.
Owner of Nob Hill Bar and Grill, Nicole Kapnison describes Summerfest as an event that truly supports local. This done through local food, local drinks, local art,and local talent., she said
Her business has been part of Summerfest for as long as she can remember, Kapnison said.
“It (Route 66’s Summerfest) really is the best summerfest in the city because it incorporates so many local businesses,” Kapnison said. “It’s rare that we get to shut down central and set up a party in the middle of the streets. It’s a great event for family and friends and great for the local economy.”
Anything that drives business away from large chains, even only for a night to Nob Hill and historic Route 66 is something Nob Hill Bar and Grill loves to be a part of, Kapnison said.
As a local business owner herself Kapnison emphasizes the importance of local business as they are what keep Albuquerque alive and flourishing, she said.
“Events like this, where almost all the businesses are local, give us all a chance to showcase our hard work, talent, and dedication to the city,” Kapnison said.
Kapnison hopes this year’s Summerfest will be bigger and better than ever as past Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) construction has caused many to avoid downtown Albuquerque, she said.
However with the upcoming Summerfest stretching down Nob Hill, Kapnison urges attendees to come and enjoy the event while drinking responsibly, taking Uber or Lyft, and spending their your local dollars on Route 66. “Construction is over, the streets are beautiful, and we want people to remember that supporting local is what drives our economy,” Kapnison said.
The 8th Annual Kickball 4 the Kids charity tournament celebrated it’s 8th year on Saturday, September 9th
Gallery 1 – Kickball 4 the Kids is the largest kickball event in the Southwest, with over 900 participants, a beer garden featuring the best local craft brews, the finest food trucks in the Duke City, a live DJ, cornhole, and more.
Photos by ABQ-Live staff photographers Martin Saenz and Andrea Sanchez
Gallery 2– Kickball 4 the Kids is the largest kickball event in the Southwest, with over 900 participants, a beer garden featuring the best local craft brews, the finest food trucks in the Duke City, a live DJ, cornhole, and more.