Artist James Glidden has left his mark on Albuquerque, decorating the city he called home

Artist James Glidden has left his mark on Albuquerque, decorating the city he called home

The Tricentennial Towers located at Rio Grande Boulevard and Interstate 40 is element of James Glidden’s legacy. The artist died in Oct and has quite a few artwork pieces all over Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

James “Jim” Glidden worked with his palms every single working day of his lifetime.

It was a course of action where frustrations arose pretty normally, yet he had the endurance to see it by way of – offering the challenge space to breathe and become what it may perhaps.

Around the study course of 31 many years, Glidden identified as Albuquerque property.

Jim Glidden

In the course of all those many years of perform, he was bit by bit leaving his mark in the community via his performs of artwork.

Odds are, if you’ve driven any place from Bernalillo down as a result of the South Valley, you have come throughout a piece of his function.

“Jim used to say, ‘If you want to see my portfolio, let’s bounce in the car or truck. You drive, I’ll level,’ ” states his wife, Christine Chilufya Glidden.

Nowadays, Chilufya Glidden normally takes solace in the long lasting legacy of her husband. James Glidden died on Oct. 29, 2021.

Months following his dying, she’s equipped to travel by means of the town and recall him. In some cases she finds herself leaning in opposition to 1 of his balconies or climbing a single of his staircases.

Or she will choose a minute to admire 1 of his public art sculptures.

The customized gates close to El Pinto on Fourth Avenue are the initial pieces of steelwork Jim Glidden put up in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of Christine Chilufya Glidden)

Glidden commenced his do the job in Albuquerque by possessing a compact metal fabrication small business. For almost 20 years, he owned Higher Desert Forge and grew it.

“We snicker now, that he started off out earning toilet paper holders and went on to adorn this town,” she suggests.

Glidden’s very first foray into decorating the town was performed as he forged the gates on Fourth Road across from El Pinto. At the time, he and his assistant, Rex, stayed up nights performing to warmth, bend and hammer the metal into curves and flourishes. The job attained an intercontinental award and appeared in the publication Architectural Document.

There was get the job done on the pool gates at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Vacation resort & Spa, and the inside work and exterior balconies at Sandia Resort & Casino.

Other assignments include the metal and copper flight and baggage information shows at the Albuquerque Worldwide Sunport, as well as the custom hooks in the restrooms. All designed by the hands of Glidden.

Work on the Tricentennial Towers on Interstate 40 and Rio Grande. The towers are made by Jim Glidden. (Courtesy of Christine Chilufya Glidden)

But his masterpiece – and most significant gift to the community – are the 65-foot Tricentennial Towers found at Interstate 40 and Rio Grande Boulevard.

It was a challenge, though loaded with strain, that was fun for him to make.

“The splendor of Jim’s mind was that he was in a position to not only attract the pretty image of what he wanted to build, but he was equipped to make it,” she claims. “With great inventive depth, he experienced this bridge in intellect. It’s something that folks generate by each day.”

The Tricentennial Towers are section of the city’s Community Arts Method and act as the entry to Outdated City.

“They act to proudly announce and determine the splendor of our group by defining our cultural heritages,” she claims. “On the south facet of I-40 is the Artwork Tower intended to rejoice punched tin. The north facet tower or Mother nature Tower makes an attempt to honor our Native heritage. And don’t overlook the lighted emblems mounted on the walls abutting the interstate proclaiming our 300th birthday.”

James Glidden produced the exterior balconies and inside stainless metal and glass balconies at the Bernalillo County Metro Courthouse. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Chilufya Glidden remembers then-Mayor Martin Chávez observing the renderings to the towers and wanting them for the tricentennial celebration.

“It was not simple working with the town,” she states. “I remember that we had a day to set up the initially tower and then two months afterwards, we ended up intended to put in the next tower. The mayor pushed all of it up to one particular week. He desired the Duke and Duchess of Alburquerque to see it. It established a whole lot of complications for us, simply because every thing was in spot. We moved it all forward and the duke was able to see the towers just before he went again to Spain. It was a magical day.”

A further piece is located at Presbyterian Hospital in Downtown Albuquerque on the fifth flooring.

There sits “Rachel’s Courtyard,” which faces west on Interstate 25 and Central Avenue.

“Look up from I-25. You have passed a million situations,” Chilufya Glidden suggests. “It’s the exterior, 60-foot extensive balcony of youngsters participating in in house mounted on the fifth flooring. Younger clients frequently virtually never go outside to engage in safely as they recuperate. Listed here, Rachel reaches for the planets with her butterfly internet created from stainless steel, aluminum, and globes of coloured glass.”

Rachel, a former youthful resident in this article, inspired her dad and mom and the group to fund this a single-of-form outer place playground for all youthful people to get pleasure from.

The entrance gates at Isotopes Park had been made by Albuquerque artist James Glidden. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Glidden received a bid to layout with other individuals and fabricate the entry gates of the Isotopes baseball stadium.

Jim Glidden, left, and an assistant do the job on a task. (Courtesy of Christine Chilufya Glidden)

“Most of the time, you go to see a game, the gates are open, but if you travel by or visit them when they are closed, you will see a replication of ball subject styles fabricated from stainless steel, aluminum and copper,” she suggests. “He appreciated to say ‘You can hardly make them out for all the hotdog, mustard and relish.’ Jim was humorous!”

Chilufya Glidden says her spouse also created the exterior balconies and inside stainless metal and glass balconies at the Bernalillo County Metro Courthouse as perfectly as the lookout platforms at the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum.

“In the starting, I would just take a search at his layout and I would request, ‘Jim, you designed this?’ ” she states. “Even he was surprised at situations. He seriously blossomed and grew to become far more nicely-recognized. The term of mouth kept taking place and he enjoyed all of the get the job done and praise.”

The Stainless metal balcony at the Anderson Abruzzo Global Balloon Fiesta Museum was made by James Glidden. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Today, the group, as nicely as his family – daughter Jenna Phelps, son-in-regulation Griffin Phelps and granddaughter, Hadley James Kanyanta Phelps – are in a position to remember Glidden by means of his art.

In his final days, Glidden would go to University of New Mexico Most cancers Center for therapy from Drs. Jessica Belmonte and Cheryl Willman.

This is wherever he also did metallic perform on the inside and exterior stairs.

“Even at the end, he was capable to delight in his have work,” she suggests. “His do the job was genuine to him. We live with his operate. Folks now go up and down the stairs keeping his function. His legacy lives on.”