Harwood's History | Harwood Art Center

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Harwood's History

Harwood Art Center was originally the home of the Harwood Girls School (1925-1976) and is housed in a 1925 neo-classical Revival style building just north of Downtown Albuquerque.

Harwood Girls School, 1925-1976

The original Harwood Girls School was founded in the 1880s by missionaries of the Methodist Church. In 1925, the Women’s Home Missionary Society built a “new and improved” campus at 7th and Mountain. Here, the Harwood Girls School operated from 1925 through 1976, serving hundreds of young women of all ages and backgrounds. In 1976, the United Women’s Methodist Ministry was forced to cut the school’s budget in half and it was closed. To this day, Harwood Art Center enjoys a friendly relationship with many women who attended school there over the years.

The Uncertain Years, 1976-1984

Though the timeline isn’t entirely clear, from 1976-1984, our campus was home to the Albuquerque Urban Indian Center, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and the Albuquerque Amritsar Academy (or Asbury School).

Escuela del Sol & Harwood Art Center, 1984 - 1991

In 1984, Escuela del Sol – Harwood Art Center’s future parent organization - began renting a portion of the campus for our elementary school students. In 1991, Escuela art teacher Kelly Stone suggested that the abandoned brick building fronting the property could be a vibrant gathering place for artists and the community. Recognizing the importance and potential impact of art and engagement on this neighborhood and our city, Escuela del Sol began an acquisition process of the entire campus. The rest, as they say, is history.

Harwood Art Center, from 1991

From 1991 to 1995, the focus of Harwood was to begin to build its own community of artists and connect to the neighborhood. To this end, artist studios and gallery spaces were prepared, and some arts programming was instituted. In 1995, year-round programming, including an after-school art program and a summer art camp for children, was established. In the years since, Harwood has expanded our reach to serve a broad audience of youth and adults with a variety of programs, including art classes, exhibitions and community outreach projects, as well as apprenticeship, teaching and professional development opportunities.


Barbara Grothus

Former Harwood Artist

I remember when the Harwood was a big empty building and Friedje had recruited a few people from the community to brainstorm about what it might become. The art community was large; studio and gallery spaces were limited. A match was made, and as the space filled up, the vision evolved. Albuquerque United Artists had an office, and held exhibitions during the 1990s. In 2000, I collected burned relics from the Cerro Grande fire.The Harwood had a space available, and though I have always had my own studio (OK, those burned things were sooty), I rented a studio there while I worked on some ideas. Eventually, I had two shows about the fire The Harwood also awarded me an exhibition in 2005. That was a true honor. The place has been part of my life for the entire time it has existed as a “home for art and artists.

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