Creating Platforms for Community + Artists

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Sanitary Tortilla Factory
401-403 2nd St SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

(505) 228-3749


Youth install at Albuquerque International Sunport, 2021

The Sanitary Tortilla Factory is excited to be the 2023 recipient of the Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund (YCIF)

The Sanitary Tortilla Factory in partnership with Gordon Bernell Charter School (GBCS) is developing multiple projects focused on the intersection of mental health and the visual arts. STF will lead both campuses Fourth Street and Metropolitan Detention Center students in weekly mental health check ins and art projects. Most of these check ins end up in serious conversations on domestic violence, suicide, addiction, stress and anxiety. The primary function of the check in is to break the stigma attached to talking about our challenges communally. The project will promote a deeper understanding of mental health challenges imposed on communities, families and individuals. The partnership will leverage creative projects to advocate for high quality mental health services and create more effective ways for people to find and connect with those services and one another. The long range goal of this project is to create pathways of connection and support during and after high school. This project is key to building our capacity to provide reentry housing in a visual arts setting highlighted in our Strategic Plan. Mental health skills and connection are especially important to the students at GBCS two schools. The North 4th campus serves Job Corp and community students under the same roof. GBCS’s second campus is in the Metro Detention Center. It’s exceptional staff of educators is always bending the arc of education to meet its students needs. We are so grateful for this groundbreaking opportunity from YCIF.

The Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund provides a powerful mechanism to connect the learning that young people are doing with the future prosperity of their communities. Schools become connected, active elements of the community’s “civic infrastructure”.

GOLDEN Forward

GOLDEN FORWARD nonprofit ready to address the immense challenges of transitioning from incarceration to release by building an arts-based, therapeutic reentry housing center in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. The initiative would consist of four new housing units, three on site counseling offices, art studios and a comprehensive support system infused with community connections to mentorship, secondary education, multi-pronged addiction support and employment. This proposed initiative is a direct response to the work Sanitary Tortilla Factory has been doing in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) over the past year. We intend to focus our efforts on young adults, ages 18-28, coming out of the MDC, using the visual and performing arts as a tool for reentry, recovery and transformation. The framework for this work uses visual arts programming on the inside as a pre-release pathway to support on the outside. Leveraging our own experience as formerly incarcerated artists, this initiative will connect people to the resources and support they need to stay out of jail and build the lives they hope to create.

Lead Artists

sheri crider has been working with Gordon Bernell Charter School students at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) and its community campus on visual and performing art that is connected to mental health. Workshops build out the student’s abilities to honor the complicated, often silent emotional states we all experience. This is especially true for those of us who are facing incarceration precarious housing and living situations. The visual art modules we have co-created are focused on creating safe emotional spaces to deepen our relationships with ourselves, peers and staff members while we collectively develop coping skills to manage current challenges. Art has been a particularly powerful tool for visualizing coping strategies and is a blue print for the transformation the justice system. Healing generational trauma and creating the unique support systems are top priorities for returning citizens success in the community.

Amanda Dannáe Romero works with students MDC creating music and art focused on collaborative prompts about how students feel they could best be supported by their communities, what makes them happy, and what resources they feel would best support their mental health. These prompts and artistic exercises allow for students to gather and expand upon resources that would benefit them both while experiencing incarceration and while transitioning back into the community after release. 

The live music created at MDC is an opportunity for students to learn first hand- song structure, music theory, songwriting, beat making. Larger conversations on music and how it relates to mental health while developing songwriting skills is a win for everyone involved. The songs are a mixture of original beats and sampled beats and tracks along with original freestyle rapping and written raps. 

Board of Directors

Alayne Ballantine is a poet and multifaceted visual artist who creates work around her time spent incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the community impact of over policing in America. She was born in Albuquerque, NM and lives there today. Her works often incorporates both metal fabrication and electronic components, both of which are skills that she learned while working for free in prison. She organizes with different abolitionist groups in New Mexico, and has multiple works published on the topic of the prison-industrial complex and the experiences of those who have lived inside of it.

Janelle Johnson is a strategic implementation consultant and co-owner of a local consulting firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received her master’s degree in political science from the University of New Mexico and has years of experience working with governments, private companies and nonprofit organizations. As a formerly incarcerated and addicted youth, and having grown up with an incarcerated parent, Janelle strongly believes in restorative justice and aims to center her life and work in compassion and healing – especially for queer and BIPOC youth. Janelle has lived in Albuquerque for over 20 years, is the proud mom of two kids and enthusiastic supporter of local artists here in her community.

Karaya Morris is a non-binary Hispanic (for lack of better words but always in the process of authentic identity exploration) film photographer from Albuquerque, New Mexico. They also hold a Master of Social Work and currently participate in death work through hospice. 

A self-described “desert rat” of the DIY Albuquerque punk and music scene, Karaya brings experience in community-building to the Golden’s Board – a community based in art, abolition, healing, and principles of mutual aid. Their professional and personal passions are grounded in the journey that comes with personal loss. As a practitioner, Karaya has oriented their career around creating structural change/abolition to promote a good quality of life and death for all but especially centering BIPOC, trans, and femme communities. 

Currently based in Denver, Colorado, Karaya yearns for home in Albuquerque and is proud to make an impact there through the Goldens Coalition. They look forward to growing the organization to support justice for those harmed by the carceral state. 

Jonathan Tyrrell (he/him) couldn’t be prouder and more grateful to serve as a founding board member of the Goldens Coalition. In his day job, he works as a program manager for the Next 100 Coalition, a national organization committed to delivering environmental justice outcomes for people of color. He also serves on the Next Generation Advisory Council to The National Parks Conservation Association. 

With experience as environmental educator, former theater kid, and professional facilitator, he brings a multidisciplinary approach to his professional pursuits, centered in building relationships across perspectives to deliver equitable and just outcomes. Similarly, he maintains a holistic approach to his extracurriculars, whether that be frequenting DIY art and music venues in the southwest, getting outdoors to local green spaces and state or federal public lands or parks, or breaking bread and spending quality time, always in the cradle of community – his dearest family and friends. 

He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and has a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology with a minor in chemistry from the University of New Mexico.