The International District has a new mural created to raise awareness and speak out against gun violence in the community.
The mural, located behind Endorphin Power Company, was directed by New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence in conjunction with our Office and was created by community volunteers and artists.
“This mural is helping change our environment and what we see every day,” Robert Reyes, mural artist said. “I think it really helps out people’s mental health.”
The mural is one of the first phases of the International District Community-Based Crime Reduction (CBCR) initiative. The project aims to implement a variety of community-based interventions, connecting at-risk populations with resources to combat crime.
“[This mural] is a part of the solution,” Reyes said. “It changes people’s outlook on life.”
The International District is disproportionately affected by violent crime, but many hope this mural is a step toward resistance against violence in the community.
“[The crime] affects all of us,” mural directing artist Warren Montoya said.
While designing the mural, Montoya said the artists met with community members and discussed their experiences with gun violence. The artists transformed those stories to the visual imagery seen in the mural, depicting the many stories shared during the beginning stages of the process.
“Turning those stories into art has been so empowering for these communities,” Montoya said. “It’s been a blessing for us to be a part of it and positively engage with the community.”
Montoya said he hopes this mural brings the community together and inspires people to stand up against gun violence.
Mural artist Valentina Deforti said transforming people’s lived experiences into a visual medium is powerful and helps create a united community.
“Peace is a collaborative effort,” Deforti said. “It’s something that anyone from anywhere can do and we’re doing it through art.