Hello VRA! I'm Cindy, manager of the Bunting Visual Resources Library at the University of New Mexico, and I'm here to build some excitement prior to welcoming you all to Albuquerque in just 388 days.
To accomplish this - I'm going to quickly run through a lot of slides showing some favorite attractions in my adopted home town. And although, obviously, my talk is informal, I'm going to read my notes because I want to try to be informative AND efficient. (extra notes: Albuquerque is a small big town: one terminal at airport, 2 hour not mega-blockbuster attractions, uptown & downtown with tall buildings, but conference is adjacent to Old Town, so spend some time outdoors…)
Albuquerque is classified as a high desert - with cool nights and warm days. Next April, you can expect temperatures averaging between a low of 40 and highs in the 70s, with frequent breezes and infrequent spring showers.
The Hotel Albuquerque is a terrific conference location.
From its site just north of Old Town, many aspects of what make ABQ so appealing are in easy walking distance -- the incredible beauty of both the built & natural environment, the area's rich cultural diversity,
and evidence of the region's pivotal involvement in 20th & 21st century issues are all interwoven with centuries old traditions & history.
5 years ago, we celebrated Albuquerque's 300th birthday. Albuquerque was founded in 1706,
and that original settlement is Old Town. Historic San Felipe de Neri church, dating from 1793 is the anchor of Old Town, and is fronted by a Plaza which still serves as a gathering place.
Even for residents, Old Town is a frequent destination for some great shopping and dining.
But possibly as interesting are its museums: the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History;
the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, where you can see Coelophysis - the NM state fossil or dinosaur, and where the planetarium shows a groovy fractal show;
AND Explora, a hands-on science museum which is really fun for all ages. Hopefully too, you'll have time to explore beyond Old Town.
ABQ is laid out on a fairly regular street grid, and we orient ourselves between major east-west landmarks: to the east are the Sandia Mountains. Sandia is the Spanish word for watermelon, and if you look to the Sandias at sunset, you'll understand their name. Our western landmarks, visible from many locations in town, are the weathered volcano cones on the west mesa, rising from the Rio Grande valley. The volcanoes are a part of a National Park site, the Petroglyph National Monument.
While the Rio Grande runs north-south, the major east-west route is Central avenue, which follows historic Route 66.
Trolley tours along Central Avenue originate in Old Town. And the city bus system offers convenient, regular service via the number 66 route.
West from the conference hotel & Old Town is one of my very favorite attractions, The Bio-Park. It features a zoo, aquarium and botanic garden. Each is a separate attraction, but accessible with one ticket purchase. I especially like the shark tank at the Aquarium, and the Children’s Fantasy Garden at the Botanical park. You can travel between the 3 on a little train, or stroll the up and down the bosque , or wooded, path next to the Rio Grande, but watch out for bicycles, roller-bladers & x-country ski rollers, each of whom use this 19 mile path for fun and training.
If we were to head east on Central, or Rt 66, from Old Town, you pass the routes leading to the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Each has incredible exhibition and performance spaces.
Traditional dance groups perform regularly at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and you can also find information there about feast days, visiting the Pueblos, AND the Gathering of Nations PowWow held annually at the end of April.
The municipal center of ABQ is Downtown. Downtown is also the focus of the contemporary arts scene, with galleries and performance venues, including the historic, pueblo deco KiMo Theatre at one end,
and at the other, next to a multi-screen movie theatre, is the new Alvarado Transportation Center. The destruction of the original Alvarado Hotel in the 1970s really spurned activists to identify and save our historic buildings. The local AIA chapter has prepared information on walking tours which we'll be sure to have available. The rebuilt Alvarado is the hub for buses & trains. The Amtrak Southwest Chief passes through daily - but I also want to point out the Railrunner.
It could take you south beyond Albuquerque, if for example, you were going to visit Judy Chicago in Belen, but more likely, you will want to go north to Santa Fe.
The Railrunner can take you right to the old railyard, now a contemporary arts organization called SITE Santa Fe. In addition, I'm sure we'll arrange trips to Santa Fe - maybe to the Georgia O'Keeffe & Contemporary Native Arts museums downtown.
Or to the four Museums co-located on Museum Hill.
Or you can do a comparison of Old Town plazas in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Santa Fe's plaza includes the Palace of the Governors, which, begun in 1610, claims distinction as the oldest public, government building in the Americas.
Now, back to ABQ, and continuing our tour east, to the Sandias. As we approach the University,
let me mention that UNM has a campus presence south of the airport, hosting the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media program and sited next door to Albuquerque Studios -
one of New Mexico's recent forays into building our local film industry.
As Central Avenue approaches the UNM main campus, we see the School of Architecture and Planning, designed by one of our famous hometown architects, Antoine Predock.
The Frontier is THE campus hangout (if you get a chance to do so, eat your breakfast burrito in the John Wayne room!)
And another of our special gems: the Tamarind Fine Art Lithography Institute.
Then, it's on to Albuquerque's Nob Hill district - with more fun, quirky stores, brew pubs and great restaurants.
Nob Hill is about 4 miles from Old Town, and is served by those east-west running Rt 66 buses.
Let me point out just a couple of other real highlights, including the Tram! While unfortunately not in walk-able distance, the planning committee could certainly arrange a trip to the world's longest tram, where from the top of the Sandias, you'll have simply incredible views across ABQ and the Rio Grande Valley.
And, of course, I have to mention hot air balloons. The 40th Annual Balloon fiesta with over 800 balloons and the evening &quot;glo-deo&quot; won't overlap our conference as it is held each October . However, balloons do fly year round. It is not at all unusual to see a few balloons overhead as the air warms with the morning sun. And there is always the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum .
OK. Back at the hotel. The accommodations are beautiful, distinctive and comfortable.
I won't even try to further address food & drink now, except to say, we've got it! At this point, you should have some sense of what is nearby the hotel.
In addition to what I've tried to show, there are so many other things to do & see in ABQ - the Rattlesnake museum, the Unser Racing Car Museum, the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, fly fishing at Tingly Beach, the National Institute of Flamenco, performance spaces for jazz and theatre, Rio Grande Nature Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, our own SNL, that is Sandia National Labs, etc., etc.
And statewide there is Spaceport America, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Acoma Pueblo, Taos, Ghost Ranch, Bandelier National Monument... There are so many options, I hope one will have caught your interest. Truly, there is so much to see and do; and this is all in addition to the stellar line-up of conference workshops, panel discussions and presentations we look forward to each year at our annual gathering.
Let me just conclude our preview with a final tidbit of history: NM became the 47th state admitted to the union in 1912 and will be celebrating its 100th birthday next year.
I look forward to welcoming you all to ABQ in 2012; there will be lots to celebrate: the NM Centennial,
Kate & William's 1st Anniversary AND
VRA's 30th Conference! I hope to see you next year in Albuquerque, thanks.
Vra 2012 final
VRA 2012 Albuquerque, NM
<ul><li>Thanks for presentation images from Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bunting Library Digital Collections, City of Albuquerque, Hotel Albuquerque, Isabel & Isaac Morris, National Park Service, and a couple of uncredited Google grabs. </li></ul>Albuquerque (Clockwise : Patrick Nagatani, 1989 photograph; Richard Diebenkorn, 1952 painting; Lee Friedlander, c.1975 photograph; & Robert Houle, 1997 lithograph)
Cindy at Hotel Albuquerque, 3/5/2011, temperature was about 55 °F at 10:30AM, sunny with a light breeze. KEY: Drink water! Wear sunscreen!
Hotel Albuquerque, with adjoining chapel (wedding anyone??) and covered walkway to Old Town
West to north panorama from Tiguex Park Old Town Plaza Albuquerque Museum Hotel Albuquerque
North to east panorama from Tiguex Park Hotel Albuquerque NM Museum of Natural History Explora
Painted mural and chile ristras in Old Town (above); Albuquerque Tri-Centennial birthday pillar (right)