Above: Saba, owner of Barricade Culture Shop in Las Cruces. Photograph by 
Douglas Merriam.

“My superpower,” says Saba, owner of Barricade Culture Shop, in Las Cruces, “is as a graffiti writer.” Along with Logan Howard, he opened Barricade in 2015 to create a safe haven for “refugee artists” like himself—the creatives who didn’t have a space to make and showcase their artwork in the mainstream. The name refers to real and metaphorical barriers, or those “things meant to stop you in your path. I teach people who come in to embrace their barricades,” he says.

As an “incubator, school for the gifted, place to network, and a showroom,” Barricade, in Saba’s estimation, is really about bringing people together, whether that means teaching novices how to spray paint or inviting veterans in the door to do their thing. Saba, who’s Diné, regularly sells T-shirts, professional spray paint, skateboards, music, and art from regional artists at Barricade, a space that is also a hub for hosting events. His lineup includes hip-hop shows, open mics, movie premieres, comedy shows, skate competitions, graffiti art battles, and community forums where local participants can air their grievances and triumphs with political leaders, then engage in group expression on what Saba calls the shop’s easel—a legal graffiti wall outside.

Check out Barricade’s eighth annual Illegal? ArrowSoul Art Show on May 10–11, in partnership with the City of Las Cruces and NMSU. “Who determines and enforces what is illegal? Art,” Saba says, “shouldn’t be illegal, people shouldn’t be illegal, and growing food or medicine shouldn’t be illegal.”

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Barricade Culture Shop
600 S. Solano Dr., Las Cruces;