Nicole Smith on the wonder of astrophotography

How often do you pause to contemplate the cosmos? If you’re like Albuquerque-based astrophotographer Nicole Smith, scarcely a day goes by without a dose of wonder.

“It’s awe-inspiring,” she says. “It kind of blows my mind that people don’t think about it all the time. …

Public art celebrates community in Albuquerque’s International District

Take a stroll through Mesa Verde Park, and you may hear the delicate clinking of a wind chime — or is that a dozen wind chimes at once?

It’s actually the wings of metal butterflies, rustling beneath a steel shade structure at the corner of Grand Avenue and Tennessee Street…

A vibrant sober space for the whole community

Drop in at Ancora Cafe & Bakery (148 Quincy Street NE) on a weekday afternoon, and you’ll find the perfect ambiance for relaxing with a book: Natural light glows on art-covered walls, and the clatter of a cappuccino machine complements light music.

Or maybe it’s a Wednesday evening, in which…

Dancing Earth founder Rulan Tangen explores liminal spaces

In the world of dance, spatial awareness is everything — a constant consciousness of one’s surroundings, one’s own body, and their relationship through movement.

No one knows this better than Rulan Tangen.

“Nice to meet you. Where are your feet on the ground right now?” …

Artist Zahra Marwan on painting her own story

Zahra Marwan’s watercolor paintings are so whimsical and bittersweet, they might make you nostalgic for a place you’ve never been — unless, like her, you’ve also split your life between Kuwait and New Mexico.

Marwan calls her work “Two Desert Illustrations” in reference to the two regions she has called…

Albuquerque’s newest mural envisions a brighter world

Walls often serve to divide people.

For the visionaries of NSRGNTS, however, walls can also bring people together.

The art collective recently unveiled their latest mural at HomegrowNM Trading Post, on the corner of Central Avenue and Morningside Drive SE. …

Petra Brown traces weaving’s cross-cultural threads

Of all the ties that bind humanity across time and place, textiles may be one of the oldest.

“Weaving is present in most prehistoric or just historic cultures,” says Albuquerque-based textile artist Petra Brown. “Everyone came about it in their own way.”

From tending plants like flax or cotton, to…

A branch of the gift economy sets up shop at the mall

In her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer describes “a world full of gifts simply scattered at your feet.” That is, plants like wild strawberries freely offer themselves to anyone who seeks out their tiny red gems.

Kimmerer recognizes plants as beings who participate in a “gift economy.” …

Artist Molly Pesata on her beloved Jicarilla Apache heritage

Molly Pesata is a fourth-generation basket-weaver. At least, this is what she can say for certain, based on her own memories.

“I learned the art of basketry mainly watching my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother,” she recalls. “I’m not sure who my great-grandmother learned from. Probably from her mother. …

A painter, a photographer, and an invitation to meditate

Imagine viewing a photo of trees on your computer.

Now imagine actually finding your way to a riverbank and meandering among the cottonwoods, breathing the scent of damp earth and noticing the sun’s warmth on your skin as it filters through fresh leaves.

There’s no comparison, right?

That same contrast…

Karie Luidens

I’m an Albuquerque-based writer of criticism, commentary, current events, and semi-connected musings. She/her. karieluidens.com

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