By Andrea Orlando,

Community Director

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking

The first-ever Summit scholarship gala fundraiser will feature a few art forms that celebrate New Mexico's Spanish heritage and appeal to all five senses; wine making, tapas, and Flamenco music and dance.

The fundraiser is open to the public and will take place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Friday, February 8 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. The $50 admission ticket includes dinner, wine, and the show, and it will benefit the new Summit scholarship program.

Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits help hundreds of people build connections and learn new ways to grow healthier, more inclusive and sustainable communities. Scholarships to attend the Summits are awarded to people who should attend, but lack the means to participate. The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking awarded five scholarships to New Mexico residents, artist Joanne Keane Lopez, and Vincent Soule, a transportation planner, Sobia Sayeda of Clementine Project, Ken Nebel of Fuller Lodge Art Center, and Terri O'Hare, who advocates for accessibility.

The center is located in Albuquerque’s historic and culturally vibrant Barelas neighborhood along the banks of the Rio Grande, and it showcases Latino art and culture from throughout the world. The musician, Vicente Griego "El Cartucho" from Dixon/Embudo, New Mexico has devoted his life to the study of cante flamenco, the art of flamenco singing. In 1992, Vicente began touring the US, Canada and Latin America, with the Jose Greco II Flamenco Dance Company, where he was mentored by Cano Roto singer, Alfonso "Veneno" of Madrid, Spain. Vicente remains a pupil of acclaimed guitarist, Chuscales and continues to accompany internationally renowned companies such as the following: Yjastros, Juan Siddi Flamenco Company, Carola Zertuche's Teatro Flamenco, Martinez' Pueblo Viejo, Fanny Ara, Jesus Montoya y Pureza Flamenca and Encuentro.

Casa Rondeña Winery is donating the wine. Owner John Calvin is also a flamenco aficionado; he studied and played flamenco guitar in southern Spain in the 1970's. He planted his first vineyard in 1990 in Los Ranchos and began making wine from grapes purchased from other vineyards in the state. To Calvin, Casa Rondeña is more than a winery; it is a center of gravity for the arts.

The dancer is Marisol Encinias, who began studying flamenco at age 5 with her grandmother, Clarita Garcia de Aranda.  She is a fourth generation flamenco dancer and one on the few American flamenco dancers raised in a flamenco family.  Encinias has been featured in the Festival Flamenco Internacional. She has been an instructor for the National Institute of Flamenco since 1990 and became a member of the University of New Mexico dance faculty in 2000. Marisol performs as a soloist with the American Flamenco Repertory Company, “Yjastros,” directed by Joaquín Encinias.

The fundraiser and the scholarship program are new initiatives for NCCP. Arts and culture wield great power to build just and sustainable societies, and creative placemakers are distinctly positioned to use arts to amplify unheard voices, encourage the weary, and shape a better reality. This is what artists do best-- envision possibilities where others see only limits.

NCCP brings people together across sectors and regions, but this year the non-profit organization is focusing more heavily on that third dimension of intersectionality--power. The organization seeks to give people from traditionally underrepresented communities and modest means the opportunity to be in the same room as funders and influencers. The hope is that by diversifying the voices at Summits everyone will have a richer, more informed experience.

NCCP Summits offer a unique, high-quality experience for creative placemakers who want to connect, learn, inspire and be inspired. But these events are expensive to produce, and even with sponsorships and subsidies the ticket price of approximately $300 just barely covers expenses. While that price is affordable for many, it is prohibitive for some.

The fundraiser is part of the West Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Albuquerque, NM from Feb. 7-9. The region covered includes states as far north as Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. It also covers Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma and Utah. Themes for the summit include authenticity, invisible challenges, placekeeping and belonging and access. Subsequent summits will cover the rest of the United States. For more information on the summits, please visit To donate to our scholarship fund or to apply, please visit

The next Summit is scheduled to take place April 16-18 in Columbia, SC and will cover a 12-state area that includes states in the South and Appalachian Mountain Chain regions. The Pacific summit will be held in Los Angeles in June; a summit for the Northeast will take place in Philadelphia in September, and an event for the Midwest will happen in October in Cincinnati.

Creative placemaking is a growing field in the United States. More than 1,400 communities are engaged in creative placemaking. The practice employs arts and arts activities to achieve community development goals, such as improved transportation, wellness, quality of life, and workforce development. Please donate today, and if you happen to live in or near Albuquerque, please consider attending the fundraiser.

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