Above: Aprons available at Casa de Cultura's Boutique. Photographs Courtesy of Casa de Cultura.
Bianca Encinias is the proud Burque-based Chicana behind El Chante: Casa de Cultura. In 2010, before other for-profit collectives swept through the city, she opened the doors to artists and writers of color to exhibit politically timely artwork, hold poetry readings, and host offbeat workshops that no other space would or could offer.
TOP THREE CHANTE FAVES
Check out El Chante’s current exhibition, El Grito de Burque, which walks viewers through the history of two renowned Albuquerque neighborhoods: Barelas and Martineztown. It homes in on the stories of those barrios’ residents, including Adela Martinez, a woman who stood her ground when the city slated the area for urban renewal (think of the Pixar movie Up). Her pale green home still stands on the campus of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
- Attend one of El Chante’s classic “low writing” workshops for creative underground writers offered by local greats like Manuel Gonzalez.
- Buy a handmade pair of earrings, a screen-printed sweatshirt, a rockabilly-styled apron with the image of La Virgen (of Guadalupe) herself, or an original work of art from a regional maker at El Chante’s trendy Boutique.
- Hit up one of two libraries in the historic building: Librotraficante Library, an intergenerational free library, and Le Plebe Children’s Library.
El Chante: Casa de Cultura
804 Park Ave. SW,
Open Friday–Sunday; Check website for hours