Original artist revitalizes iconic Barelas Park mural

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In Barelas, one of Albuquerque’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods, it’s pretty hard to miss a particular bright-colored mural.

Francisco LeFebre painted it back in 1990 one of the walls of the Barelas Community Center.

“It is a mural that depicts the community, as a horse as being that kinda survivor, clearing the flames that depict the challenges of survival. The railroad train depicts the industry that hired a lot of the people that lived here and worked here in the Barelas community,” LeFebre said.

Now, at 76 years old, he’s back with a fresh coat of paint and to bring his work of art back to life.

“I was born to paint and this is where I belong,” LeFebre stated.

Over the years, there have been efforts to preserve the history and culture of the historic Barelas neighborhood and revitalize it.

Last month, the City of Albuquerque unveiled new upgrades to the Barelas Park, which happens to be where the mural is. The updates include new playground equipment, benches and a sport court.

As Francisco LeFebre adds fresh elements and meaning to his art, he hopes the mural will continue to be a part of an already historic neighborhood for more years to come.

“Art is the DNA of civilizations. When it’s all set and done, this is the thing that people are going to be talking about years from now. It was what was being created at the time,” LeFebre said.

LeFebre began restoring the mural about two weeks ago and still has some more work to do. He hopes to finish it soon.