FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2021
ALBUQUERQUE – Minor flooding caused by two waterline breaks last week inside buildings at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) has since been remediated, and repair work in the areas affected by water damage has been mostly completed.
The first of the two waterline breaks occurred when a heating fan coil in the HVAC system ruptured inside the Performing Arts building on the evening of Feb. 14, causing water to spill onto the floor near the building’s entrance. The water was contained to a hallway with stained concrete and tile, and cleanup and remediation work was finished the next day.
The second waterline issue took place inside a maintenance room in the Visual Arts building when a fire suppression line broke on the afternoon of Feb. 15, causing up to two inches of water to spill onto the floor. The waterline was quickly shut off, limiting the spread of water and protecting artwork from elevated levels of moisture. Within hours, extraction teams were on-site to perform short-term cleanup.
It has been determined that both waterline breaks were the result of frozen pipes due to last week’s extremely low temperatures across the Albuquerque metro area. The NHCC Visual Arts program staff has been working to ensure the safety of Art Museum collections, which were unharmed during these events. Work-related to the safety of the collections is being completed under the guidance of Tey Marianna Nunn, director and chief curator of the Art Museum and Visual Arts program, in consultation with NHCC Executive Director Josefa Gonzalez Mariscal.
“As NHCC and Art Museum staff responded to the flood, our greatest concern was for the artworks in our permanent collection, works on loan for current exhibitions, and our registrar files,” said Nunn. “We were all so relieved to find that no artworks were damaged. The Art Museum staff are very professional and trained art handlers, so while we had to move a large portion of works to other areas in the building for safekeeping, everything was moved using best practices and a lot of care.”
The Department of Cultural Affairs has provided staff, including conservators and art handlers, from other divisions across the department to assist NHCC staff as needed. Artworks are currently being returned to their original location inside the NHCC Art Museum and collections area.
The NHCC Art Museum will remain closed until further notice while the exhibition “El Perú: Art in the Contemporary Past” is being de-installed to make room for the upcoming exhibition “Mira, Mira On the Wall: Reflecting on 20 Years of Exhibitions,” which celebrates the first two decades of collections that were on exhibit at the Art Museum.
About the National Hispanic Cultural Center The National Hispanic Cultural Center is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and advancement of Hispanic culture, arts and humanities. The Center presents mission related events throughout the year, some produced by its history, literary, performing and visual arts programs, and others by partnering with external organizations. Events take place at its 20-plus-acre campus, which includes a plaza, an art museum, a historic designated building, a library, and genealogy center. The Center is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and is further supported by the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation.