Albuquerque’s Downtown is home to a unique array of assets, including artists, designers, filmmakers, galleries, museums, theaters, musicians, music venues, city festivals, restaurants, food trucks / kitchens, breweries, coffee shops, and creative entrepreneurs living and working in both formal and informal spaces.

The Downtown Arts & Cultural District, an initiative of DowntownABQ MainStreet, is made up of roughly 30 blocks in and around the Central Avenue corridor and was officially signed into being in 2016 with the support of Councilor Isaac Benton and the city council, Mayor Richard Berry, the City of Albuquerque’s Cultural Services and Economic Development teams, the New Mexico Department of Economic Development and NM MainStreet program, the NM Arts Commission, and the NM Department of Cultural Affairs Arts and Historic Preservation Division.

Those organizations, along with a council of cultural and artistic institutions and businesses already invested in Downtown, helped to develop a cultural plan titled Multitude of Riches (.PDF) outlining some of the district’s strongest opportunities, including:

  • Supporting and promoting existing creative work
  • Growing a strong creative identity, internally and externally
  • Unlocking unused or underutilized space
  • Increasing access to shared knowledge
  • Stimulating a range of funding opportunities
  • Increasing visitors to the district

Current Work

Curious about what we’re up to in 2017? District activities for this calendar year are based off of our advisory council approved 2017 Work Plan (.PDF)

You can also view the district’s FAQs (frequently asked questions) (.PDF), which answers some of the common questions people have about the district, including how it was created, how we are funded, and ways to get involved.

A big part of our work involves inviting people to explore the Downtown-area, and our 2017 marketing and communications plan lays out how we’re doing that.

Take a sneak peek at an annual report snapshot (.PDF) which includes recent highlights from our projects over the last year.


Grant will pay artists to fill empty windows in Downtown Albuquerque – (KRQE – 9/8/17)

Grant program to pair ABQ artists with Downtown businesses – (Albuquerque Business First – 9/5/17)

Eye on New Mexico: The Future of Downtown’s Arts District – (KOB-4 TV – 7/9/17)

Albuquerque “Feed The Heart” Art Series to Host Free Events – (AP Wire – 6/20/17)

Free programming series to come to Downtown Arts & Cultural District – (KRQE – 6/20/17)

Albuquerque’s creative scene can benefit business – (Albuquerque Business First – 6/15/17)

ABQ arts get a cut of multimillion-dollar funding – (Albuquerque Business First – 6/14/17)

Interactive maps showcase Albuquerque’s points of interest – (KOB-4 TV – 6/9/17)

Three Partnerships Share in ‘Grant Giveaway’ – (Albuquerque Journal – 4/7/17)

New interactive map aims to attract people to Downtown Cultural District (KRQE-13 – 3/15/17)

Downtown ABQ arts will hit the grindstone this year (Albuquerque Business First – 3/9/17)

Group on the long road to grow city’s creative sector (Albuquerque Business First – 3/8/17)

Downtown Albuquerque Launches Arts & Culture District (KRQE-13 News – 1/20/17)

Downtown Arts and Cultural District designation approved by city (Albuquerque Business First – 2/18/16)

Plan for Downtown Arts and Cultural District gets new life (Albuquerque Business First – 10/30/15)

Other reports, data, presentations 

NOTE: these items are provided as references only, the district is not an author nor do we endorse any specific findings or recommendations listed within each report or data source

Creative Workforce State Profiles 2017 – data and reporting compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts and Bureau of Economic Analysis

NM Arts & Cultural District Annual Report 2016 (.PDF) – data and reporting compiled via the New Mexico MainStreet program and delivered to the NM Arts Commission (2017)

Building on the Past, Facing the Future: Renewing the Creative Economy of New Mexico (.PDF) – data and reporting compiled by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (2014)