Public Art Adventures in Gallup, New Mexico



A Colorful Showcase of Murals, Sculptures & Cultural Performing Arts

A Love Your Parks Tour Public Art Story assigned by contemporary figurative artist Victoria Chick

Located in northern New Mexico’s spectacular red rock country, Gallup is a destination on historic Route 66 that’s known for its rich Native American heritage, as a film location for numerous classic movies during the 1940s and 1950s, and its vibrant art scene. We visited this authentic southwest town as part of our summer trip to Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument. Both of these parks are host to the National Parks Arts Foundation’s artist residency programs.

The downtown district features over fourteen murals that colorfully showcase the people, culture, and history of the region. The historic McKinley County Courthouse features a New Deal Art Collection and a mural. Along with a Veterans Memorial, its Plaza is the venue for the popular and free Summer Nightly Indian Dances that are held nightly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Here one can experience traditional dances and musical performances from a variety of regional tribes. It’s an informative and fascinating experience, and uniquely, photos are encouraged.

If you love sculpture, We the People Park features the 110-foot long steel “We the People” sculpture that’s listed in the Smithsonian Art Database, plus other sculptures that represent “free speech, pluralism, democracy, and our coexistence with the environment.”

If you want to experience some film history, the El Rancho Hotel is known as the “Home of the Movie Stars” for back in the ‘30s and ‘40s when over 100 western movies were filmed in the region. The hotel also has a series of murals, and a Native American art and jewelry store. For more about the area’s Hollywood History, listen to Steve Schneickert’s Big Blend Radio podcast on, or


For more about Gallup, New Mexico visit

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