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Tierna Unruh-Enos is the managing editor and associate publisher at The Paper.

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They say necessity is the mother of all invention. If that’s true, then Downtown Albuquerque has had no shortage of reasons to continually reinvent and revitalize itself. Like everywhere else in the city, 2020 was a particularly rough year for the city’s arts and entertainment district; it weathered a violent riot last summer and continues to struggle amid the pandemic. Albuquerque’s Downtown is unlike any other part of the city; it is home to a wide variety of spaces and people, including artists, designers, filmmakers, galleries, museums, theaters, musicians, music venues, city festivals, restaurants, food trucks, breweries, coffee shops and creative entrepreneurs.

Slowly, some businesses are opening, while some remain closed. What we heard from both arts organizers and business owners alike is that their loyal customers are what’s giving them hope. They’ve built a community, fueled by a desire to not only build back what was, but to create a thriving district. Downtown is hanging on to that hope while a powerful creative force is forging ahead, building a safe space for people to enjoy Downtown again and for businesses to reopen again soon, and thrive.

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