Civic Plaza Presents
Civic Plaza was created in 1974 to host outdoor events in the heart of Albuquerque. The plaza bears the name of two-time Albuquerque Mayor Harry Kinney, who is remembered for having laid the foundation for some of the city’s most cherished assets. While he chaired the city commission, he pushed for the building of the Convention Center and then moved on to Civic Plaza right afterwards.
Civic Plaza is the largest public space in the center of downtown, with a capacity of 20,000 people and a sizable performance stage. In late 2014, management of Civic Plaza was turned over to the Albuquerque Convention Center (managed by ASM Global). Around this time, Downtown Albuquerque Main Street obtained a Heart of the Community grant for placemaking on Civic Plaza from Southwest Airlines. The convergence of these two events lead to the creation of Civic Plaza Presents, an initiative to bring more events to Civic Plaza and to make it a friendlier and more welcoming public space for downtown and all of Albuquerque.
The focus of Civic Plaza Presents has been to make the underutilized public square at 3rd Street and Tijeras a more viable place for the community to enjoy. The intent is to, not only be a part of the moment to revitalize Downtown’s social and business scenes, but also to enhance the city’s sense of community.
Civic Plaza’s centralized location puts it in a unique position to contribute to downtown’s transformation and growth. The Convention Center’s expertise in executing events provides great flexibility for producing its own events and has increased Civic Plaza’s viability as a rental event venue. The grant procured by ABQ Downtown Main Street has provided improvements such as tables and chairs, shade umbrellas, and even a large scale movie projection system. These have been key ingredients to start the transformation of Civic Plaza to a more vital community-oriented gathering space and the feedback in its first year has been overwhelmingly positive.
Civic Plaza Presents produced several weekly happenings during last year’s event season along with a few new community festivals, and this year plans to build on those successes.