Albuquerque Academy honors legacy of Jada Gonzales

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 18-year-old Jada Gonzales was shot and killed at a house party in northwest Albuquerque two months ago. While the community is still mourning, they are also coming together to honor Gonzales.

Albuquerque Academy, the high school Gonzales went to, has set up a way to honor her that encapsulates exactly what she loved – art.

“We thought it would be appropriate to create an artist series fund that would bring artists, particularly artists from New Mexico to work with our students, to speak to our community, to work with our faculty and to really breathe life and art into the Academy and community,” said Julianne Puente, Albuquerque Academy head of school.

Photography was a passion for Gonzales, and that was recognized by the administration and those who worked closely with her every day.

“She was here since sixth grade and just a tremendous artist,” Puente said.

“I feel like Jada really pushed herself,” said Karl Orozco, who was one of Gonzales’ art teachers. “She took a lot of risks and the photos that she took.”

Gonzales experimented with different types of photography during her time at Academy.

“She was playing with long exposures as well as this concept of like a frame within a frame,” Orozco said.

Her impact is everlasting, just like one of her last pieces of art she created.

“The last photo she took, this was like, mid-December, and I remember that week is like a really cold week,” Orozco said. “I think she showed that to me maybe five days before her death.”

Below are a few pieces of Gonzales’ work. To donate to the Jada Gonzales ’23 Artist Series Fund, click here.