Courtesy / Muñoz & Company and San Antonio River Authority
Bexar County Commissioners chose four local artists Tuesday to complete four different works along San Pedro Creek as part of the waterway's redevelopment into a linear culture park.
Adriana Garcia, Katie Pell, Alex Rubio, and Joe Lopez will complete tile murals, each with a distinct concept, along the first segment of the creek – from the tunnel inlet near Fox Tech High School to Houston Street. That portion of the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project is set to be completed by May 5, 2018, San Antonio's 300th birthday.
Public art is a key component of the endeavor and is being led by Chicago native and artist Carrie Brown. Other artistic opportunities along the creek will unfold over the coming years and could include word art, mosaics, sculptures, and other murals.
The San Antonio River Authority, which is managing the project, and the County have released a request for qualifications to create a list of local, national, and international artists for future public art projects along San Pedro Creek. The list will help establish a more streamlined application process for artists interested in being commissioned for temporary, permanent, and performance-based artwork.
Artists can apply through June 30 at PublicArtist.org to be considered for the prequalified list.
Each mural approved Tuesday focuses on a distinct historical or cultural theme relating to the area of the creek where it is implemented.
Garcia, a Westside native and interim director for San Anto Cultural Arts, is creating the project's largest mural, which will be 15 feet tall and 120 feet long on the creek's west bank between Santa Rosa and Martin streets. It is centered around the theme "from all roads, we are one."
Her concept [see above], "tells the story of how the springs brought growth," she said. Garcia depicts various histories in her piece, including indigenous people along the creek, livestock to symbolize the stockyards that were once nearby, and Spanish missionaries descending on the creek.
Pell, a local art professor at UTSA, will create a two-part mural located on the west bank between Martin and Travis streets. It will stand at between 5 and 6.5 feet high and 45 to 65 feet long and will feature images of the flora and fauna that once flourished on San Pedro Creek amid vibrant, colorful backgrounds.
On the east bank between Travis and Houston streets will be Rubio's piece, partially wrapping a large maintenance shaft in the area. Known for his curved, linear style of painting, Rubio will work with the concept of water, blending blues, greens, and turquoises into his work. He is the artist-in-residence for Blue Star Contemporary’s MOSAIC Student Artist Program.
Lopez's mural will be the final art piece on the first segment of the creek, situated on the west bank between Travis and Houston streets. The area is at the convergence of several major downtown projects, including the construction of the new Frost Bank Tower and the rehabilitation of the long vacant Alameda Theater.
The mural – 50 feet tall and 8 feet wide – expertly combines the major historic and cultural elements of the area in what Lopez, owner of Gallista Gallery, calls "a montage of the different eras."
Famous performers at the Alameda are pictured alongside migrant workers, military soldiers, and everyday civilians. Lopez even included a few chickens in his design to symbolize the "humble people" that would frequent that portion of downtown in its day.
Other artists and arts organizations interested in the cultural and artistic opportunities developing on San Pedro Creek can collaborate through the San Pedro Creek Arts & Culture Alliance. The new group will have its kickoff meeting on Wednesday, May 31, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the San Antonio River Authority's offices at 100 East Guenther St.
For more information, contact Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.