Illustration: Qworks


Over the past year, Two Way Street has identified a wide variety of local events that have unique features and characteristics that we would like to highlight and learn from when planning our own neighborhood capacity-building events in 2019. We have ranked these events based upon the following criteria (which reflect Two Way Street’s values):

  • Ability to improve accessibility, inclusivity, and affordability
  • Ability to build capacity at the neighborhood level
  • Ability to foster a stronger regular customer base and broaden that customer base over time
  • Ability to establish a strong sense of place and belonging
  • Ability to support existing facilities, infrastructure, and programming
  • Ability to strengthen the community’s continuum of commerce
  • Ability to support a diverse group of vendor types
  • Ability to cultivate public/private partnerships
  • Ability to document successes and failures in order to improve and refine each event each time it is held
  • Ability to generate revenue and establish financial sustainability from one event to the next
  • Degree of professionalism, organization, and coordination
  • Degree of resourcefulness, innovation, and creativity
  • Degree of cultural, ethnic, social, and economic sensitivity

1. Westfest

West Central Community Development Group

  • Neighborhood association driven
  • Featuring a Show n’ Shine, arts vendors, and city department vendors
  • Community meeting “disguised” as a special event
  • Data collection used to improve the event every year
  • No registration fee for vendors
  • Culturally relevant and sensitive
  • Matching/leveraging multiple sources of local public/private funding

2. ABQartwalk

Enchanted Pop Up

  • Using a unified platform for marketing and promoting businesses on a night with a pre-established audience
  • Supporting galleries and other small businesses that are bringing affordable art to the market
  • Identifying strategies for ensuring that Downtown businesses can all succeed together
  • Complementing existing programming rather than competing with it (ABQartscrawl and other First Friday activities)


3. Ciqlovia

International Distirct Healthy Communities Coalition

  • Blocking off the streets in order to prioritize the free flow of bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Integrating outdoor exercise classes, shopping, live music, and other activities that often aim to increase civic engagement
  • Promoting public health, civic engagement, economic development, environmental justice, and social justice all in a single venue
  • Working with third party company Team Better Block to coordinate the event and secure grant funding from AARP
  • Strategically held in marginalized neighborhoods and near community facilities/assets

4. South Valley Dia de los Muertos Celebration and Parade 

Community Driven (with Support from a variety of local sponsors)

  • Culturally and seasonally relevant and competent
  • Funded by the New Mexico Arts, the McCune Foundation, and private donations
  • Incorporating a parade, car show, vendors, food trucks
  • Based out of a community center
  • Voluntary registration fee


5. Street Cypher Block Party & Art Show

Mothership Alumni and Birdnoise

  • Holding the most cost-effective block party by identifying the most suitable street
  • Contributing to placemaking at the level of the block
  • Integrating arts and crafts vendors, live music, live performance, and street skateboarding at the level of the block
  • Acquiring sponsorship from brick and mortar businesses in order to cover the costs of barricading the street
  • Attracting patrons on the street into a second floor art gallery


6. One Albuquerque Engage

City of Albuquerque’s Department of Marketing and Innovation, Economic Development Department, and Office of Equity and Inclusion

  • Creation of a Pop Up Business License
  • Elevating existing programming through extensive social media coverage and local news outlet coverage
  • Activating vacant commercial properties
  • Establishing temporary/seasonal lease agreements with Downtown business owners
  • Free license combined with participating event organizers’ registration/tabling fees


7. New Mexico Artisan Market

Hotel Albuquerque and Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Inc

  • Pulling the best artisans (from a variety of disciplines) from around the state
  • Developed the most comprehensive vendor agreement
  • Promoting event among pre-established audience of the hospitality/lodging industry
  • Developed an extensive catalog outlining all of the vendors contact information and promotional information


8. I’ll Drink to That

Organized by Immastar Productions

  • Integrating live entertainment, live art, and vending in a third place environment
  • Developing content based upon pre-scheduled themes
  • Raising funds for local charities
  • Has been held consistently 80 times in a row on a monthly basis


9. OT Circus Artist Market and Pop Up Shop

OT Circus

  • Activating an inactive driveway in order to hold a pop up art market
  • Coordinating indoor and outdoor vending opportunities
  • Focusing artistic content and programming on occupational therapy
  • Tie in with existing programming at the Downtown Growers Market and Humble Get Down Market
  • Utilizing sidewalk chalk as a tool for attracting patrons


10. Moonstone Pop Up

Organized by Female Micro-Entrepreneurial Vendors

  • Partnering with Downtown’s Sister Bar to do business-within-a-business
  • Hosted by local female entrepreneurs and designers
  • Showcasing a variety of local vintage clothing and apparel styles for both women and men


11. Poetry for a Cause

Supportive Housing Coalition

  • Connecting Albuquerque’s slam poetry community and homeless advocacy community together
  • Local poets competing for prizes, music, and artist tables – all to raise awareness about homelessness
  • Proceeds benefit permanent supportive housing and housing first programs
  • Enabling various agencies and organizations that make up Albuquerque’s Continuum of Care to be in one place at one time


12. The Goods

Humble Coffee Downtown and One Albuquerque Engage Team

  • Lunch Market targeting Downtown workers
  • Activating a vacant commercial property next to a coffee shop
  • Incorporating front window intervention poem segments written by current and inaugural Albuquerque Poet Laureates and installed by local visual artists


13. Plant Powered Events Pop Up Market

Plant Powered Events and Vegan Outreach

  • Providing educational materials surrounding vegan products
  • Catering to vendors selling vegan products, but also providing opportunities for other low-income/moderate-income food vendors that are not necessarily vegan but promote healthy eating habits
  • Partnering with other arts and crafts vendors to cultivate a more eclectic marketplace


14. Brick Light Nights

Mariposa Music and Brick Light District

  • Identifying synergy between brick and mortar businesses and storefront vendors
  • Survey assessing vendor needs and goals that helped inform the development of a Pop Up Business License
  • Acquiring sponsorship from brick and mortar businesses in order to compensate participating bands
  • $5 fee (after vendors have made enough revenue from sales) that also supports participating bands


15. Qworks Season 2 Launch Party


  • Pairing community members with research, editorial, and videography teams
  • Interactive booths that are both fun and educational
  • Content has a City Council District level of focus that encourages civic engagement
  • Utilizing a community space that is wheelchair accessible
  • All volunteer organized and operated


If you are a local vendor, event organizer, or community advocate who knows of another unique local event that we need to highlight, please shoot us an email at [email protected]. Two Way Street would like to support your work and better connect you with our community-at-large!

As we move into 2019, Two Way Street would like to continue to evaluate local events and vending opportunities by comparing them across the following categories and according to the previously listed criteria:

  • Registration medium (e.g. mail-in, in-person, online, phone, etc.)
  • Registration requirements (ex. business registration, solicitation permit, etc.)
  • Registration timeframe (e.g. six months, one month, two weeks, day of the event)
  • Registration fee (e.g. free, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100)
  • Revenue from fees (e.g. paying for using space, paying for t-shirts)
  • Day + Time (e.g. first Friday of the month; after 5pm when everyone gets off work)
  • Locations (e.g. indoors, outdoors, storefront, vacant lot, etc.)
  • Theme (e.g. social justice, environmental justice, homelessness, etc.)
  • Promotions (e.g. social media, poster, billboard, etc.)
  • Funding/sponsorship (e.g. surrounding businesses, local government, etc.)
  • Spacing (e.g. supporting larger vendors with tents, smaller vendors with a small table setup, etc.)
  • Tabling, equipment, and display contributions (e.g. providing/not providing tables and sandwich boards)
  • Vetting process (e.g. Interview, resume, portfolio, etc.)
It has been almost 2 years since I first caught wind of the street paper movement while studying City Planning at the University of New Mexico. After attending the 2015 International Network of Street Paper Summit in Seattle, I knew that Albuquerque’s original street paper launched in 1990 had to be revived.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here