Above: The Social Distance exhibit in the windows of the former Ruppe Drugstore is one of the highlights of June's Albuquerque Art Walk. Photograph by Estevan Robles.

Seize your summer night.   

That summer Friday feeling. You’re out past sundown and don’t need a jacket; the crickets are singing, and the air is fresh; you’re going to your favorite spot to meet your favorite people. These are simple joys many of us are craving. So, it’s reassuring that the monthly Albuquerque Art Walk returns to downtown on Friday—in a slightly modified format.  

Launched in spring 2018, these first-Friday community block parties support more than 50 artists and micro businesses. After a two-month hiatus, the shop-and-walk event returns from 5 to 8 p.m. with 11 curbside pop-ups and window art exhibits, including Safe House Distilling, Collected Hands Studio, UP Gallery, Oni Ramen, and Red Door Brewing.    

“It’s important for people to interact with these businesses and get to know them, get to know their community of small business owners and artists,” says Gabriel Gallegos, program manager at Abq Art Walks, who points to mid-century modern and vintage furniture shop Modities, at Central Avenue and Eighth Street. “If you’re looking for a couch, you don’t have to go to Target, you can buy from a local business.”  

DJ Flo Fader (Roscoe Floyd) mixes the art walk’s soundtrack from the roof of OT Circus, while Safe House hosts musician Gilbert Uribe and Buddhafunk performs at (B) Ruppe on Fourth Street. Fittingly, the highlight of the night just might be the Social Distance exhibit displayed in the windows of the former Ruppe Drugstore. Presented by IGers ABQ and Secret Gallery, the public photography installation features works by Donald Roberts, Christopher Mock, Desirae DiQuarto, Oona Gonzales, and other New Mexicans capturing scenes of social isolation, adaptation, and self-preservation. (The former drugstore-turned-event space also boasts a beautiful mural of late traditional healer Maclovia Zamora, who worked there from 1981 until 2011.)  

While the deadline has passed for purchasing online for curbside pickup, visitors can preview a sampling of vendors and goods at abqartshop.com and download the map of this week’s participants. All vendors will be wearing masks, and organizers ask that attendees wear masks as well. Please keep six feet apart and make use of the hand-sanitizing stations at each location.  

Get fresh air and fresh veggies.  

Silver City is calling you this weekend with open-air dining throughout town, a bountiful farmers’ market on Saturday, and plenty of cool mountain breezes.  

Beginning at 10 a.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Sunday, the town turns its main drag—and other nearby streets—into one big patio, extending dining into the roadway. The main action will be along Bullard from Broadway Avenue to Sixth Street, where favorites like Diane’s Restaurant and Revel will be tempting customers’ palates. In addition, shops and galleries plan sidewalk sales throughout the weekend. 

The “business as unusual” experiment will continue the following weekend, says Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce Director Steven Chavira, who hopes to see it become a game-changer for his town and others across the state.  

Saturday also marks the Silver City Farmers’ Market. With this week’s crop of fresh produce featuring asparagus, strawberries, salad greens, turnips, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and beets, you can pick up everything for a fresh salad and support local farmers at the same time. You’ll also likely find grass-fed meats, baked goods, tamales, tortillas, handmade soaps, plants, and trees.   

The farmers’ market takes place Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon at Pope Street and College Avenue, and Wednesdays at the same time in the Ace Hardware parking lot. The larger weekend market averages about 20 vendors, including four local artists.  

Silver City Farmers’ Market manager Andrea Warner says customers have grown used to the COVID-safe practices. Upon opening, the market welcomes the first 40 people, then one at a time as folks leave. Customers wait six feet apart in line, all vendors and attendees must wear masks, and sanitizing stations are positioned throughout the market.  

Busy the kiddos with stars and spaceships. 

If last weekend’s SpaceX launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station propelled your kiddo’s interest in rockets, the stars, and all things NASA, the New Mexico Museum of Space History has you covered in 3, 2, 1 … liftoff. While it has hosted new generations of out-of-this-world fans at its annual summer camps since 1976, the Alamogordo institution has had to re-engineer its offerings with a virtual Rocketeer Academy in a Box to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.  

Sign up for one of the weeklong camps and get everything you need blasted off to your home, including all the materials to complete four projects. Each weekday at 10 a.m., kids get an hour-long, educator-led lesson and instructions on how to build a spacecraft with spaghetti, craft homemade gliders, learn about chemical reactions, and create a spectroscope.  

The Rocketeer Academy is open to cadets in grades 4–7. There is a sign-up fee and you have to register two weeks in advance. 

Learn about archeoastronomy. 

Chick Keller has been studying astrophysics, space physics, and solid planetary geoscience for more than 50 years. So while he's on top of all the high-tech, cutting-edge info, he also has serious hindsight. See how far back he can look when he leads a virtual lecture on archeoastronomy—the way ancient peoples understood phenomena in the sky and how it influenced their cultures.  

Instead, we’re tuning in Friday to hear him discuss how Native people are believed to have watched astronomical events like solstices and eclipses from New Mexico locations such as the Sun Dagger site in Chaco Canyon. In fact, a series of pictographs in Chaco exist which many believe are a recording of the supernova event of 1054. This is a chance to see the stars through ancient eyes, and to ponder life in faraway times.   

Presented by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, in Los Alamos, the event happens on Zoom at 7 p.m.  

Abiquiú LakeAbove: Abiquiú Lake beckons on hot summer days. 

Hit the lake.   

There’s this particular summer feeling all freshwater lovers are familiar with. It happens on hot days, when the dry heat pervades and you come upon some water—a river, an acequia, the rare lake. You jump in, or maybe just wade in up to your knees. The water is bitter cold, but it feels good on your sun-beaten skin.  

But the real moment comes when you step out of the water, perch on the bank, and your freezing skin meets the sun. You’ve never felt fresher in your whole life. It’s a feeling worth chasing, and one you certainly get on a trip to Abiquiú Lake.  

The northern New Mexico lake is a stunning spot for a picnic or swim. The landscape in the heart of O’Keeffe country is painted in ombre sands—cream and red and ochre. You can access beachy areas near the lake’s dock and perch along the surrounding cliffs. If you want the place to yourself, the earlier the better. Bring a book and a lot of water, and you’re pretty close to heaven.