Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Public Art Part I - Pueblo Montano Picnic Area and Tingley Beach

One of the wonderful benefits of working for the University is that we get a winter break - this year it started on December 24 (although I took a couple of leave days, beginning December 22), and will end this Friday. I thought I'd have lots of time on my hands this week, since the Christmas festivities and traveling are over, and Dan is back at work. But I've kept busier than I anticipated. One thing I promised myself was a photoshoot day, and today turned out to be the best opportunity for that. I left the house around 9:00 this morning, and drove around the northwest part of town, taking pictures of some of Albuquerque's public art. Shortly after noon I came home, because the mid-day sun was too harsh for good photo results. I was going to post the entire public art series today, but changed my mind and decided to spread it out over several days.

One of the places I went this morning was the Pueblo Montano Picnic Area and Trailhead (near Coors and Montano). Soon after Dan and I moved to Albuquerque, in the spring of 2003, a terrible fire swept through the bosque (the wooded area alongside the Rio Grande River). It threatened homes, and everyone feared that Albuquerque's beautiful bosque might all go up in smoke. This picnic area was wild forest land before the fire. Local artist and firefighter Joseph Mark Chavez turned tragedy into beauty by carving the remaining cottonwood tree stumps into works of art, depicting local animals, birds, and even a fire-fighter, as a tribute to those people who bravely fought that 2003 fire.

As everyone knows, Albuquerque is far from any ocean, so doesn't have any beaches. But the city maintains a park, known as Tingley Beach. Having come from the Pacific Northwest, I know what beaches are, and Tingley Beach doesn't quite measure up! But it is a well-loved and well-used recreation area, none the less. It has three man-made ponds. One of the ponds is for radio-controlled model boats; another is a fishing pond for children 12 years old and younger; and a third one is a fishing pond for older children and adults. Both ponds are stocked with rainbow trout in the winter and channel catfish in the summer.

I recalled that there were some pieces of art at Tingley Beach, so headed that direction this morning. But, after arriving, I was distracted by the geese. They had congregated at the model boat pond, which was partly frozen over, and watching them "walk on water" was pretty amusing.

Apparently the ducks are not so fond of the cold weather. I didn't see any of them in the water, or on the ice. Instead, they were cuddled up in their "down comforters."
No matter how cold, you can't keep a real fisherman at home.

Like I said, I did get distracted from my mission at Tingley Beach. But here is a picture of one of the sculptures there. And the last picture, of the cranes, is just down the street from Tingley, near the Rio Grande Bridge, on Central.

I'll be highlighting more of Albuquerque's public art in the next few days. Come back to see!

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