Artist Chosen for Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Art Piece
See Press Release PDF here.
The Albuquerque Community Foundation (“Foundation”) and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (“IPCC”) are pleased to announce the artist and artwork chosen for a public art project in Albuquerque’s City Council District 2, located on the traffic circle at Menaul Blvd NW and 12th Street NW. To honor its 40th Anniversary, the Albuquerque Community Foundation is acknowledging its initial grantmaking in arts and culture during the 1980s by partnering with the Cultural Center to commission or purchase permanent artwork by a Native American artist and/or artist team from New Mexico.
Greyshoes, the nom de plume of the multiple award-winning sculptor Upton S. Ethelbah Jr., of Santa Clara Pueblo and White Mountain Apache heritage, has been chosen to create “Pueblo Matriarch,” a contemporary, stylized, steel sculpture, which will incorporate traditional symbols relevant and meaningful to Pueblo People. These include corn, clouds, rain, lightning, and the iconic Avanyu or Water Serpent. Joe Craig Doyle, a partner at Pace Metals in Albuquerque will fabricate the sculpture. Doyle is a master welder, high steelworker, and creative sculptor who has been collaborating with Greyshoes for more than 20 years.
“Pueblo Matriarch is going to be the mother of our Cultural Center, complementing the new expansion on the old Indian School campus,” says Greyshoes, who himself has strong ties to the area. “I had relatives who worked at the Indian School, and my mother was a nurse for the Indian Health Service hospital that used to be there. I worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs across the street. We lived on Los Tomases Drive, only a few hundred yards from the roundabout. Now I live less than a mile away to the west. I have a lot of roots, history, and life experiences that happened right there. It was a natural fit.” Greyshoes is a graduate of Sandia High School and the University of New Mexico. He served in the United States Navy.
Pueblo Matriarch will be a 20-foot-high, fabricated hollow steel sculpture made entirely of welded steel beams and panels that will develop a natural red rust patina over time. The sculpture will be illuminated from without and within, highlighting design elements cut out of the panels. These symbols will include corn, clouds, rain, lightning, and the iconic Avanyu or water serpent. The project is sponsored by The FUNd at the Foundation.
Amy G. Johnson, IPCC Curator of Collections, says that one of the reasons the Art Selection Committee chose Greyshoes’ design was that the artwork he proposed complemented the architecture of the IPCC and buildings. “It was interesting to look at the ideas the artists came up with, and the different approaches they took, their understanding of the IPCC, and the idea of the roundabout being the entry way to the Near North Valley and the history of the neighborhood. Artists had to consider issues of sight lines, traffic patterns, the durability of the piece, what materials to use, etc. The Committee’s choice of Greyshoes and Pueblo Matriarch was a beautiful one.”
The Committee included Joe Sabatini, Secretary of the Near North Valley Neighborhood Association. Says Sabatini, “the objective of the committee was to reflect and commemorate the area’s historic agricultural usage, the heritage of the Albuquerque Indian School and the presence of the IPCC. Pueblo Matriarch will be a wonderful gateway to the neighborhood, because it quickly conveys the message that there were ancestral Pueblo peoples who farmed this place. That’s reflected in the representations on the dress of the matriarch – a corn plant on one side, a rainstorm on the other, and other water symbols. It will be easy for drivers approaching the circle to recognize the values the piece represents.”
The area surrounding the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center was the former campus of the Albuquerque Indian School at 12th and Menaul. The 66-acre AIS campus was occupied in 1884 and operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs until 1976. The BIA contracted with All Indian Pueblo Council, known today as All Pueblo Council of Governors, to operate the AIS and the Santa Fe Indian School. This was the first instance nationally of a tribal government taking over a BIA function under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. The property was granted to AIPC as federal trust land, giving it reservation status. Coincidentally, in 1976-79, Greyshoes assisted in this transition as the BIA representative to the Council.
Agricultural roots are apparent throughout the area, with property that includes the Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service, the 4-H program headquarters and rodeo grounds and the 4-H Park, which formerly was pasture land used by the Indian School’s dairy herd. All three North Valley schools: AIS, Menaul School and the Saint Anthony’s School for Boys, maintained vocational agricultural programs into the 1950s, raising food for school use and selling the surplus to grocers in town.
For more details on the project or to schedule an interview with the artist, contact Yvette Perez, Marketing Director at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Contact here.
About Albuquerque Community Foundation
Albuquerque Community Foundation is celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2021. The mission of Albuquerque Community Foundation is to build, invest and manage endowment funds to enhance the quality of our community through informed strategic grant making. For more information, visit abqcf.org.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
The mission of the IPCC Campus is to serve as a gathering place where Pueblo culture is celebrated through creative and cultural experiences while providing economic opportunities to Pueblo and local communities. For more information, visit indianpueblo.org.