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Territorial Art, 1846-1912
Theater came to Albuquerque in 1883 with the Grant Opera House, which could seat 1,000 for drama and music performances. Its first performance was the operetta “H.M.S. Pinafore.” By the mid-1880s the town had a second venue in the Albuquerque Opera House, although it favored melodramas, musicals, plays and minstrel shows. During one memorable performance, the actors became angry with one another and began to fight on stage, swinging fists and throwing props. Some members of the audience were inspired to join in. Those who remained seated thought it was the liveliest production they’d seen.

The rise in popularity of Native American arts and crafts can be tied to the railroad, which brought the first tourists to New Mexico. More specifically, the Alvarado Hotel and its Indian Building became a show place for native artisans. The establishment hired Pueblo and Navajo potters, weavers and jewelry makers to demonstrate their skills. Many a visitor saw their first Indian arts in this way. The demand sparked a revival in these arts and crafts and created a new market.

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