After more than a year of planning and fundraising, the plans for ZYEP’s new facility, Ho'n A:wan Community Park are finalized and construction has begun.
Ho'n A:wan (“of the people”) Community Park will be a 2.5 acre complex including an athletic turf field, community center, walking trail, community garden, basketball court, traditional ovens and more. The community center will house ZYEP’s staff offices, as well as classroom space for summer camp and other instruction and a large indoor/outdoor performance space for dances, musical performances and events. Ho'n A:wan Community Park is located near the central Village and along the Zuni River on Chimoni Drive, easily accessible to much of the community. To design Ho'n A:wan, ZYEP worked closely with community artists, culture-bearers, the Tribal Council, and community members to create the best possible fit for the Zuni community. Zuni art and culture are integrated into all aspects of park design.
ArtPlace America's Community Development Investments program assists organizations undertake community planning and development that incorporates arts and culture at a core level. Since ZYEP's selection as a $3 million CDI grantee, we have worked closely with Zuni artists and cultural leaders to understand what a community facility founded in Zuni art and culture would look like.
The Artists Committee was formed to help guide this work and these Zuni artists have met regularly over the last year with ZYEP staff, the site design firm, and the community. Growing from this intensive process, Ho'n A:wan Community Park's design plan incorporates Zuni art and culture at every step.
From the outdoor performance space to changeable sculpture and painting installations, from flooring patterns featuring traditional art to youth renditions of the Zuni Clan symbols, Ho'n A:wan Community Park will be authentically Zuni, visually striking, and a model for community development in Native communities.
Ground Breaking Ceremony
On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, ZYEP held a ground breaking ceremony for Ho'n A:wan Community Park. This event started with the Zuni High School Blue-Out walk/run with the Zuni High School Football Team leading the way. Many community members and Zuni youth joined this event. The walk/run started at the old Dowa Yalanne Elementary school parking lot heading to Chimoni Drive, where the Community Park will be built. Speakers at the ground breaking included Zuni Tribal Council, ZYEP Co-Directors, Tom Faber and Joseph Claunch, and members of the ZYEP Board. The ceremony ended with a colorful Rainbow Dance by the Kallestewa Dance group.
The fulfillment of a decade-long vision came to life on September 29th during the grand opening of ZYEP’s Ho’n A:wan Community Park.
The event attracted over 800 visitors including youth, parents, artists, tribal dignitaries and many longstanding ZYEP partners. The 3-acre Ho’n A:wan Park is centrally located in the heart of Zuni’s main village and was designed by a committee of local artists to both blend in with Zuni’s traditional Pueblo landscape and act as a canvas that showcases Zuni art. This is evident on the interior and exterior walls of the park’s youth center building, which features 11 large scale murals that were created by Zuni artists to inspire and engage park visitors.
During the grand opening, community members and visitors were able to tour the main building, experience the murals firsthand, and meet the muralists. A central feature of Ho’n A:wan Park is its full-size athletic turf field. To kick off the grand opening activities, ZYEP’s U-15 Thunderstriker’s Soccer team hosted a local Gallup team to play its first official game in the park.
A family fun walk was scheduled, starting at the Zuni Fairgrounds, as another event to start the activities. The event also featured multiple youth dance groups that performed a variety of Zuni social dances on the park’s new outdoor performing arts space. One special highlight was a dance performance by Zuni’s renowned Olla Maidens.Throughout the afternoon, hundreds of youth enjoyed the park’s outdoor space by playing soccer, football, basketball and letting their imaginations run wild with our newly donated Imagination Playground blocks. The grand opening event inspired countless happy memories and we hope to build on this momentum in the decades to come.
The Ho'n A:wan Community Park is open for use by any local programs or interested community members. We have a facility usage form available. You can access the form here. The form can be turned into our office.