The Coal Avenue Commons Project

In 2018, gallupARTS, in partnership with the City of Gallup, received a $150,000 “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Matched by $150,000 from local government, institutions and organizations, this $300,000 total grant funded a creative placemaking project in downtown Gallup. It supported a community-based, collaborative design process to re-imagine Coal Avenue as a signature “event street” and creative commercial hub.

How did we answer the question, “What is the Coal Avenue Commons?”

STEP 1: The community came together to brainstorm a new vision for Coal Avenue by submitting words to a “Wordle” which was transformed into a street art mural by artist Bear Mescale, by “chalking the walk” and filling Coal Avenue with design ideas, by creating temporary “parklets” showcasing different potential uses for the future Commons, and by prototyping design ideas in a hands-on workshop.

STEP 2: The community’s ideas and feedback were incorporated alongside that of property owners, business owners, artists and downtown residents who met in focus groups, into three different design concepts, which the community voted on. The result? Almost unanimous support for the “plaza”-style street design.

STEP 3: On September 25, 2018, the Gallup City Council voted to move forward with the community’s preferred design for the future Coal Avenue Commons: a plaza-style street, featuring curbless sidewalks, patterned pavers, a gateway feature, combined planters and benches for added landscaping and interconnectivity with the downtown “walkway.” See below images for the concept design plans.

NEXT STEPS: The project’s design team is drawing up construction documents and the City is working on sourcing construction funding. Coal Avenue Commons will break ground in the near future if all goes according to plan!

For more information, check out the project website: