At Groundwork Studio, we believe design is transformative when process is closely tied to implementation. Each project is an opportunity to work with communities to build capacity for leadership and creative problem solving, especially when we can all readily experience the results. Seeing a design idea take physical form is incredibly rewarding, especially when community members are directly involved in the project execution.

2019 was a very inspiring year in this regard. We had the opportunity to collaborate with six New Mexico MainStreet communities to see their visions become reality.

In Farmington, the Grand Union Tea Room mural was raised, alongside a custom, locally fabricated upcycled fence that included colored glass flower details. The Red Ball Café invigorated their outdoor seating area and Calle Cuarto streetscape with freshly painted red and blue sidewalk checkers, new tables and chairs, lighting, and landscape improvements. Silver City painted the town, with selfie murals and colorful crosswalks on Kelly Street, the first phase of their “Strand” project, which connects downtown to their Big Ditch Park. Tucumcari’s Mesalands College foundry students fabricated a giant puzzle piece tyrannosaurus head, slated for installation in their Great Blocks Breezeways along MainStreet. ExNovo Brewery in Corrales opened their Tap Room, with an incredibly popular patio for enjoying local craft beer and beautiful New Mexico weather. And Lovington realized their Library Parklet, complete with life size chess board, musical flower instruments, storybook mural, and lighting.

All of these projects were envisioned from the community up, made possible by their local MainStreet organizations, with technical assistance from the New Mexico MainStreet team, support from their local municipalities and in some cases funds from New Mexico Gas Company or the New Mexico Resiliency Alliance. In every case, they tell the stories of the people, history, and cultures in these distinct communities – creating meaningful places for new stories to be generated and told.